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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Bayliss brands Gateshead as worst pitch he's seen in years

BLUEBIRDS boss Dave Bayliss has described the pitch at Gateshead as the worst he has seen in years.

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INVITE: Barrow AFC manager Dave Bayliss has offered to play the tie at Holker Street DAH Sports Images/Dave Howarth

Barrow have been forced to play a waiting game for their FA Trophy third round tie to take place, having seen it postponed twice in three days.

Saturday’s initial tie was wiped out be a waterlogged pitch by referee Peter Bankes two hours before kick-off and further rain and snow in the north east has only exacerbated the situation.

Bayliss had arrived at the International Stadium at the weekend when the game was called off and his own look at the pitch told him it would be impossible to play another game there for weeks.

“I walked on the pitch and the running track,” said the AFC manager. “They have taken a load of water off it and the slightest touch of rain, or hint of sleet or snow, and the game is going to be called off. It’s that bad.

“It was lucky we played on New Year’s Day really, but we got through it and we won the game luckily enough, but I can’t see any game being played on there for the foreseeable future.

“I can’t see any game being played on there for the next three or four weeks, because it is that bad – it’s the worst I have seen for a long, long time.”

Gateshead are currently searching for alternative venues for their home games, while Bayliss confirmed Barrow have offered to host the tie at Holker Street.

The Evening Mail contacted the FA to check on regulations regarding either option. They said a switch to a ground in ‘close proximity’ to Gateshead was the most likely option in the case of a second postponement. A decision was set for 9am this morning on tonight’s tie, but it was described by sources in Gateshead as ‘a formality’ the game would be off and rearranged for next week.

Bayliss and his players had just arrived at Gateshead when they received the call to say the game was off on Saturday.

His view of the pitch suggested it could have been abandoned earlier – a 4pm inspection on Friday ruled it playable, with weather conditions in the region over subsequent hours as forecast.

The rearrangements, which could still – in theory – see the game played tomorrow night at an indeterminate venue, have left Barrow having to rip up their plans and gamble on their schedule.

Bayliss admitted they have counted out both this week’s suggested dates and are training as if the game will now be played in a week’s time, forcing the postponement of the Conference home game with Stockport County.

He added: “It ruins your week before schedule, it ruins your plans for the week ahead, because we are left to plan for a game on Tuesday that might not be on.

“We’re hedging our bets that it won’t be on, because the lads are going to train hard both today and tomorrow.

“I just think it is best to plan ahead when the schedule is really bad. It’s forecast for snow, ice and rain – all three together on a pitch like that, it’s never going to be on. I just think it wastes everyone’s time. If we can plan ahead for a week or two weeks’ time, I think we will all be better off with that.

“It does play havoc with everything and it is not ideal. But there is not much you can do, it’s in the lap of the gods with the weather, especially on a pitch like that.”

On where he saw the match being played, Bayliss added: “It’s up to them if they decide to look for another venue, but I don’t know if you are allowed to do that. We’ve offered for the game to be switched to our place, because our pitch is one of the best in the league for firmness and stability. We’ve asked to do that, so I don’t see why that would be a problem.”

The winners of the tie will face Gainsborough Trinity, managed by former AFC player Steve Housham, in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-final draw (to be played Saturday, January 26): FC Halifax Town v Dartford, Grimsby Town v Luton Town, Southport v Wrexham, Gainsborough Trinity v Gateshead or Barrow AFC.

Have your say

Can't we claim the tie? We've been messed about long enough,I don't know about the chiefs,but the injuns are nervous wrecks.It's not the best way to solve it,but if their pitch was like that when they applied,they wouldn't even be in the conference now.We can't keep changing fixtures,and as well as us,other teams we let down,and the teams they let down are scrambling to re-arrange fixtures,it's like their pitch,a mess.Action now please, enough is enough.

Posted by captain bluebirdseye on 15 January 2013 at 19:52

the worst pitch bayliss has seen

what does that say for our team
its the only pitch weve won on for months

Posted by tom on 15 January 2013 at 17:29

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