Alfreton Town’s FA Cup Tie with Walsall Postponed Due to Frozen Pitch
The FA Cup second-round match between non-league Alfreton Town and League Two team Walsall was called off just minutes before kick-off due to a frozen pitch.
Match Officials Deem Impact Arena Surface Unplayable
The game, which was scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One with a 12:30 GMT start, was called off by the match officials who deemed the surface at Impact Arena to be unplayable.
Alfreton Town, a National League North club, were hoping to reach the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
The match will be rescheduled for a later date, yet to be confirmed.
Disappointment for Fans and Volunteers
The ground had filled up with eager fans after volunteers and club staff made efforts to remove the covers in hopes of preventing the freezing temperatures from affecting the pitch.
However, referee Sam Allison made the decision to call off the game just after 12:20 GMT, less than 10 minutes before the scheduled kick-off.
Allison explained that the covers had been kept on as long as possible to give the game a chance, but the pitch was deemed too dangerous and unsafe for the players.
“It was too hard in too many areas of the pitch, it seemed like an ice rink in some areas,” Allison added. “Player safety has to be the priority – it was too dangerous and too unsafe.”
Mixed Reactions to the Decision
The decision to call off the match was met with boos from the home supporters who had hoped to witness a cup upset. However, Walsall boss Mat Sadler believed that the correct call had been made.
“As soon as I walked in, I thought this game is going to be off. It was rock hard and I knew it wasn’t going to get any warmer,” Sadler told BBC Match of the Day Live.
“We all wanted to play because we don’t want a logjam of games but I think common sense has prevailed. The goalmouth is rock hard – it wasn’t safe and it was the right decision to call it off.”
Alfreton boss Billy Heath understood the decision but believed the game could have still gone ahead.
“I get the reasons why, but it depends on what era you’re from – we didn’t have a problem with the pitch, we would have been quite happy to play,” he added.
Other Matches Affected by Cold Weather
The cold snap also led to the postponement of Crewe’s FA Cup tie with Bristol Rovers and several National League matches, as well as various games in Scotland.