Pike: Referee right to call off Gosport game

Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike, centre    Picture: Paul Jacobs
Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike, centre Picture: Paul Jacobs
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Alex Pike felt the referee had his reasons to call off Gosport Borough’s trip to Wealdstone an hour before kick-off – even though the decision was left so late.

The Borough team coach had arrived and fans were starting to come through the turnstiles by the time the official deemed the St Georges Stadium pitch unplayable.

Although the surface itself looked fine and Borough have certainly played on worse in the past couple of seasons, referee Robert Massey-Ellis, from the west midlands, identified some problem areas and called the game off at 2pm.

And while Pike believes a decision should have been made sooner to avoid the wasted trip, he understood the referee’s reasons.

Pike said: ‘To be fair, the referee went out and noted four areas of concern.

‘I must admit, myself and Gordon Bartlett (Wealdstone manager) wanted the game played but the referee suggested we went to check the areas ourselves.

‘To be fair, I think he has got a point.

‘The referee is a paramedic by profession and he is health and safety conscious.

‘In this day and age, everyone is more healthy and safety conscious.

‘But he was worried that someone could turn an ankle if they sunk in one of those areas.

‘As the referee, he is ultimately responsible for that.

‘Every game in the area has been called off, so that would be used against him if we played and something had happened.

‘I can see where he is coming from but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating – we all wanted to play.

‘There is one goalmouth that is particularly bad, two areas near the corners and one long strip down the middle of the pitch which is very soft under foot.’

Several disgruntled fans had already paid before they were informed that the game was postponed but it was the small travelling contingent from Gosport that were left most disappointed.

And with Borough loanee River Allen making the lengthy trip from Plymouth, Pike believes there should be more consideration when a game is under threat.

He said: ‘I’m not happy.

‘The decision should have been made a lot quicker than 2pm.

‘It’s all very well saying the referee had to travel himself but I had a player who travelled five-and-a-half hours in River Allen.

‘These sorts of decisions should have been made at 10am and that would be my grievance.’

Pike’s side are now hoping to be back in action at Hayes & Yeading in Vanarama Conference South on Tuesday.