BARROW AFC face another game packed into an already bulging end of season after last night’s match against Boreham Wood was postponed.

Heavy rain on Monday evening into Tuesday morning left large areas of the Holker Street pitch underwater, forcing a fourth home cancellation of the season for the Bluebirds.

AFC chief executive Austin Straker bemoaned the wettest winter on record for battering the fixture list – ruling out any chance the work carried out on the pitch last summer had resulted in adverse effects.

By mid-morning, when former Football League referee Mike Pike carried out an inspection, there were still patches of standing water in front of the Popular Side and near to the Main Stand.

The inspection was timed to allow Boreham Wood to be notified before they left their Hertfordshire base, the National League battlers having already seen one trip north cut short when the original fixture was called off in December.

With further rain forecast during the day, Pike ruled there was no chance the surface could be fit to host the fixture.

Straker said there had been no other decision which could have been made and said the record levels of rainfall in recent months continued to have an effect.

“These are exceptional circumstances,” he said. “People will say that we have had rain like this before, but I don’t think we have had it over such a long, extended period of time.

“The pitch look immaculate yesterday and, if anything, it needed just a light dressing of water, because it was so dry. Forest Green thought it was fantastic on Saturday.

“We have taken advice throughout and we have attempted various things to look after the pitch. Gareth (Morgan), the groundsman, does a good job and it has been verti-drained (a process which sees small, narrow holes punched into the surface to allow air in and water to disperse) twice in the last month to try and aerate the soil.

“It’s clear that the water table is high. Last year it certainly seemed to be sunny every time we came across, but this year it hasn’t been sunny so many times.

“It’s the worst winter in terms of rain. I know it’s the Lake District, but it’s the worst on record. You can’t work with that.”

He added: “There is absolutely no connection whatsoever with the work that was done last summer.

“Whatever compaction there would have been, it has now been verti-drained three times – twice in the last month – so it has had every opportunity to dry.

“I think the measure is probably the goal-mouths. Where you get heavy wear is where most pitches suffer and yet the goal-mouths are fine. There are just pockets underground elsewhere which are causing us problems – they are filling up and have nowhere to go.

“That is where a lot of work was done during the summer last year as well.”

Last night’s postponement follows the original cancellation of the Boreham Wood game on December 5 and those against Gateshead on Boxing Day and Braintree Town in February.

Barrow already have three midweek games – including the Easter Monday match against Halifax – in the remaining eight-and-a-half weeks of the season, with the Boreham Wood fixture now having to be fitted in as well.

Fingers are now crossed that last night’s scheduled opponents’ own ground is fit to host the reverse fixture on Saturday, or else another game will have to be rescheduled.

The forecast for the Hertfordshire area over the coming days is for occasional showers, including snow and hail, though Saturday itself is due to be dry.

Barrow’s next home game is now against Altrincham on Saturday, March 12.