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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Barrow AFC hope for fourth time lucky against Gateshead

BARROW AFC will try to play their FA Trophy third round tie with Gateshead for a fourth time on Saturday.

Holker Street Snow
The pitch at Holker Street this morning after snow blanketed it last night

 Last night’s match was called off just as volunteers started to clear the Holker Street pitch, with Gateshead unable to travel from the North East.

A covering of two inches of snow blanketed the surface overnight, but the home club were confident the game would go ahead, with more than two dozen people turning up to help move the snow yesterday morning.

However, their work was cut short when Barrow received the call from Heed, whose coach company were unwilling to risk the journey over the A69, and with the A66 completely closed.

Club director Tony Keen, who was at Holker Street yesterday morning as the clear-up was getting under way, said: “Gateshead’s coach company weren’t happy travelling, so for health and safety reasons – whether we were fit to hold the game or not – that takes it out of our hands.

“The nicest thing is the amount of people who had already turned up to help clear the pitch. The car park was full and it shows that we have the support and the backing of those people and we just need to get a game in. We’ve had three games at home now in about eight to 10 weeks.

“The snow wasn’t even forecast, but these things just seem to happen to us.”

A club statement added: “Barrow AFC, Gateshead FC and the Football Association have agreed to postpone tonight’s game for health and safety reasons.

“With the A66 shut, the A69 passable only with care and sub-zero temperatures forecast for the trip home to the North East, Gateshead’s coach company were understandably reluctant to make the trip and to guarantee safety.

“All parties have thus agreed that human life is more important than a game of football and agreed to postpone the tie to Saturday.”

The club will now leave the snow on the surface – which was perfectly playable beneath the white blanket – to protect it from frost ahead of Saturday’s rescheduled game.

The weather is forecast to become milder ahead of the weekend, meaning the snow should melt and soak into the pitch.

With comparatively little snow having settled, there is not expected to be any issue with waterlogging should it melt. Keen, whose side last played at Holker Street when they lost 2-0 to Gateshead on Boxing Day, added: “The risk now is whether there is any frost towards the weekend, because we are desperate to get a game in.

“I think we will be fine, it just depends how hard the frost will come. The good thing is, the snow will protect the pitch from the frost, so it shouldn’t get too hard into the ground.

“Hopefully with the thaw that is forecast for Friday afternoon and Friday evening, we should be fine.”

The match has already been postponed twice at the International Stadium – first two hours before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch on Saturday, January 12, then due to an exacerbation of the problem three days later.

With Gateshead’s home showing no signs of being playable at any point in the near future, the game was switched to Holker Street last week, though the Heed were still classed as the home side.

Any replay of Saturday’s Trophy clash would also be played at Furness Building Society Stadium, with next Tuesday the scheduled date.

The winners of the tie face a trip to Blue Square Bet North high-fliers Gainsborough Trinity in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Have your say

I also think we should claim the tie.OK it's not the best way to advance,but I think that Gateshead wouldn't have traveled even if our pitch had been perfect.What are they waiting for,have they got injuries they want to buy time for or/.and players suspended waiting to get back in.Claim the tie Dave,let's get this farce behind us.

Posted by captain bluebirdseye on 24 January 2013 at 17:44

No , the final will be in May by the time this game is finally played in April!!

Posted by Geoff Payne on 23 January 2013 at 17:41

View all 6 comments on this article

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