ACCRINGTON Stanley manager James Beattie said he felt for his players and supporters after having the derby with Morecambe abandoned before the hour.
A crowd of 1,431 had braved the elements for the League Two clash, with the pitch passing an earlier inspection.
Persistent, heavy rainfall on the eve of the game had put the fixture in doubt, but a dry morning on Saturday had allowed the pitch to drain sufficiently, thanks to the efforts of the ground staff.
But when the rain returned before kick-off, and showed no signs of easing, referee James Adcock expressed his concerns at half-time.
At that point the game was goalless, with Morecambe a man down after Alex Kenyon was sent off for a late challenge on Peter Murphy before the beak.
The players came back out for the second half only for Adcock to abandon the game in the 56th minute.
But Beattie felt the match official had acted in haste, and had not done enough to take fans into consideration.
“You’ve got to think about the supporters who have come and paid their money. It’s a bad decision,” said Beattie, who felt there was more that the referee could have done to at least try to complete the game.
“We were less than 60 minutes into a football match and at the drop of a hat the referee’s called it off and not even given the pitch any time to become playable.”
“I think even to postpone the game for just a few minutes would have been enough because it stopped raining soon after and the pitch drains very quickly.
“It was under water on Friday but at the start of the game it was perfect.
“Yes it was raining but the pitch was draining probably at the rate that it was raining.
“None of the players were complaining as such. The Morecambe staff were obviously, being down to 10 men, and they were maybe doing everything they could to try to get the game off at half-time to try to influence the referee.
“The referee pulled me and Jim (Bentley) into his changing room at half-time and said ‘if it continues to rain I’ll have to call it off’.
“He kept mentioning safety issues but I never saw a player lose their footing or slip or anything like that. The pitch was playing well, it was just a little bit of water on the top.
“The ball was rolling, the only time that it stopped was in the top left hand corner which is notoriously the wettest part of the pitch because it’s underneath the stand.
“The ball stopped once and everyone from the Morecambe bench got up. They were chirping in the fourth official’s ear and the linesman’s ear and the ref’s come over and called the game off.
“I think he could have given it more time, but there’s not a lot we can do about it.
“A few of their players came off saying they couldn’t believe it had been called off.
“When that's being said you can imagine how I'm feeling.
“But the ref called it off and we’ve got to get on with it.”
Beattie said the club would look into a favourable pricing policy for when the game is replayed to encourage walk-on fans who are not entitled to a refund, back for the re-match.