By Connor Steel
HAYES & YEADING UNITED FC have confirmed that their scheduled Southern League Premier game against Gosport Borough has been postponed following a pitch inspection; this controversial decision being made just forty-five minutes before the 3pm kick-off at the SKYex Community Stadium as both outfits prepared to begin their “warming-up” routines.
It looked like the encounter had survived the heavy overnight rain and Storm Ciaran as the home team shared an early update on Saturday morning (November 4), which said that the pitch was playable and there was no plans for any new inspections. They followed this with warnings of temporary traffic lights and road closures, urging all fans to leave early.
This prompted Gosport fans, players and management team to travel for the match; which was a highly anticipated one due to the visitors’ reunion with former manager Mark Mosely after last season’s relegation battle. It further marked the opportunity for Joe Lea and Patrick Suraci to maintain their side’s place as league leaders after losing in the FA Trophy.
But the officials carried out a pitch inspection upon arrival and deemed two ‘small’ parts of the surface unplayable; thus having to postpone the match at 2:15pm despite discussions with both teams who “wanted to play”. One of these areas was reported to be near the touchline as pictured above; the two clubs unsuccessfully arguing was not part of the pitch.
The postponement was met with a furious reaction within the stadium and social media when confirmed; one supporter stating that the scenes were “farcical” and another adding that “it’s a joke”. There was also sympathy for the away side as they travelled over two hours to the destination, despite a Met Office ‘yellow alert’ for heavy rain throughout the day.
Gosport’s club chairman Ian McInnes has issued apologies to away fans who made this journey and cited this decision as a “ridiculous” one; the club promising to keep supporters updated of an arranged new date for the fixture. At the time of writing (3:45pm) there has been no comments from Hayes & Yeading United / Gosport managers about the decision.
This fixture joins a wider calendar of postponements across non-league divisions due to awful weather, with Fareham’s away visit to Petersfield and AFC Portchester’s home clash against Portland United cancelled because of waterlogged pitches. Both Wessex League Premier encounters will be rescheduled and more details are due to be finalised shortly.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: One of the areas that proved too unsafe for Hayes’ game versus Gosport to go ahead.