Beattie not blaming ref for postponement

This Is Lancashire: James Beattie James Beattie

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss James Beattie said referee Kevin Wright’s decision to call off Saturday’s home game with Bury was the correct one.

The match official had indicated the game was not under threat upon arrival at the ground around midday, despite heavy rainfall the previous night.

But a deluge within the hour left standing water all over the pitch at the Store First Stadium, and led to a change of heart for Wright.

Members of the Stanley board and supporters felt the referee had acted in haste.

Burton Albion had suffered a similar downpour ahead of their home game with Fleetwood Town.

Kick-off was delayed until 4pm to allow extra time for drainage and the game was completed, with Graham Alexander’s Fleetwood earning a 1-0 win.

Wright refused to speak to the Lancashire Telegraph when asked if he could give his reasons for not allowing the game to go ahead.

But Beattie insisted the postponement was best for all concerned.

“I believe the right decision was made,” he said.

“The referee was asking for input from myself and Dave (Flitcroft) and there was standing water on the pitch, which is very unusual for this pitch..

“There was more forecast rain and it wasn’t a case of the water being in just one place it was all over the pitch.

“You could see that from the demonstrations of the ball rolling.

“We didn’t want a game to be won on a mistake because it’s the referee we would’ve been going to if that happened.

“I believe, as did Dave, that the referee made the right decision.”

But Beattie admitted he had not anticipated the game – an important League Two clash – being under threat, despite the conditions.

“The pitch was magnificent when I arrived this morning and a lot of games have been called off in this area recently when our pitch has stood up to the weather,” said the 35-year-old.

“The deluge that came down between about 12.30pm and 1.15pm put paid to the game.

“I think the weather became increasingly severe and that downpour was just like something out of a film.

“The pitch succumbed to the water that came down and there’s not a lot we can do about the weather.

“The referee initially got us out at around ten to two and we all agreed to give it 20 minutes to see if the water would drain.

“It didn’t and the brighter weather that seemed to be coming became dark clouds with more rain on the way.

“The referee took the decision, with the blessing of Dave and myself, to call the game off.

“Our focus now turns to getting the boys out training and preparing for (tomorrow) night’s game at Bristol Rovers.”

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