Notts County gutted at called off game
NOTTS County stadium manager Greg Smith said nothing more could have been done by the club to get last night's game against Rotherham on.
Smith, like manager Keith Curle, was gutted at referee Darren Deadman's decision to call the FA Cup second round replay off at 6.15pm yesterday evening on the grounds of safety fears, because of a frozen pitch.
The call came just 90 minutes before kick-off at Meadow Lane, with some fans already at the ground.
The staff had worked around the clock to change the pitch around from the Nottingham rugby match on Friday night and on Monday, the frost covers went onto the pitch.
The covers came off the playing surface late yesterday morning, with the sun shining and the pitch looking fine.
Smith said the referee had no complaints when he first arrived at the ground an hour earlier but then raised concerns, which led to a call from club secretary Tony Cuthbert to boss Curle five minutes before he arrived at the ground to tell him the game was in doubt.
When he did get pitchside with the match officials, Curle was told the game was off and, after a team meeting, his players headed home before 7pm.
Instead of a day off today, the Magpies squad are now in for training ahead of Saturday's League One clash with Brentford.
Smith said: "The referee has called it off on health and safety grounds.
"The pitch on the main stand side is a bit tricky but he was happy with it a hour before (he called it off). He came here at 5pm and was happy.
"Then he walked it, ran on it, threw the ball on it and has called it off. I think he was worried about injuries.
"We have had it covered up for 24 hours and did everything we could in our power to get it on. We marked it out this afternoon and we felt we would get the game on.
"We did what we could and I am just gutted. But the referee had concerns for health and safety."
Boss Curle said he wanted nothing other than the game to be on, but said he had to respect the decision of referee Deadman.
Curle said: "We are bitterly disappointed. The mind-set of the players all day had been to play this game and I wanted to play, was desperate to play.
"But the referee has to guarantee the safety of the players and has called it off."
The replay with Rotherham will now take place next Tuesday, December 18 at 7.45pm at Meadow Lane.
It means that Curle's men now face the prospect of three home games in eight days – with the Brentford and re-arranged Millers cup tie coming ahead of the league game with Leyton Orient on December 22.