Crawley are facing a damaging fixture backlog after their League One clash with Stevenage was postponed today.
Reds purchased pitch covers during the week and were confident the game at the Checkatrade.com Stadium would go ahead only for referee Iain Williamson to call it off just before midday.
The pitch passed an initial morning inspection by a local referee but Williamson was concerned by some areas of the playing surface when the covers came off combined with the forecast for more rain during the afternoon.
It is the third home game Crawley have had postponed in the last four weeks following the cancellation of the matches against Bristol Rovers and Wolves. The initial FA Cup replay against Bristol Rovers also had to be abandoned after 76 minutes while Crawley’s away games at Swindon and Port Vale fell foul of the weather too.
Reds already had up to four games in hand on some of their League One rivals and chief executive Michael Dunford admitted this latest postponement was a huge blow.
Dunford said: “We are absolutely gutted as we were really optimistic the game would go ahead.
“It is hugely disappointing and I can only apologise to all our supporters and those from Stevenage who were planning to make the journey but it is something completely out of our control.
“From a financial point of view we need to play games here. We are virtually in a situation where we are going to have to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday right through to the end of the season which isn’t ideal from either a football perspective or a spectator perspective.”
Williamson insisted he had no option but to call the game off due to concerns over player safety and also whether the match would be able to be completed if it started due to the forecast.
He said: “The most important thing for me is player safety and too much of the field of play was unplayable. It was soft underfoot, the ball was plugging and I just can’t take any risks at all.
“Once the covers came off and I had the opportunity to look at the full field of play it became apparent very quickly it wasn’t going to be playable. Even when I was checking it started raining and the forecast for this afternoon was for heavy showers.
“You’ve got to be certain you can finish the game and with the forecast as it was I don’t think that would have happened.”