Crawley's FA Cup tie abandoned

The Argus: The rain-soaked players leave the pitch The rain-soaked players leave the pitch

Crawley's FA Cup replay against Bristol Rovers was abandoned after 76 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.

Referee Stuart Attwell took both teams off for ten minutes to see whether conditions would improve but had to admit defeat as heavy rain continued to batter the Stadium pitch.

The score was still 0-0 at the time and the prospect of the playing surface deteriorating further during extra-time probably played a part in Attwell's thinking.

It was a surprise the match had lasted as long as it did with standing water beginning to form towards the end of the first half.

The only positive was that the scores were level so neither team could feel particularly hard done by. Reds had gone closest to scoring with Joe Walsh having a header pushed against a post by goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.

The match is expected to be rearranged for Saturday January 4 - subject to ratification by the FA tomorrow - the date the winners were due to play Birmingham City in the third round.

Atrocious conditions made it difficult for both teams to play any decent football in the first half.

Crawley had the advantage of a driving wind at their backs and did create the best of the chances as Rovers struggled to get out of their own half.

Jamie Proctor, recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of Gary Alexander, should have done better with a header from Billy Clarke’s cross but guided his effort wide of the far post.

Proctor also forced Steve Mildenhall into a sharp save at his near post and dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box as Reds began to crank up the pressure as half-time approached.

It was defender Joe Walsh who came closest to giving the hosts the lead, though, when his header from a Nicky Adams corner was pushed onto a post by Mildenhall.

Rovers were understandably on the backfoot for the majority of the opening 45 minutes but almost nicked a goal against the run of place.

Chris Beardsley was unable to make proper contact with a teasing cross from Michael Smith with team-mates better placed behind him while a free kick from Lee Brown skidded off the drenched surface and went narrowly wide with Paul Jones beaten.

Conditions got increasingly more difficult in the second half with Attwell deciding to call it a day with 14 minutes to go.


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