Why there's more fixture frustration for Portsmouth as Exeter are ordered to rerun their FA Cup replay against Bradford

Pompey are being forced into another fixture reshuffle after the FA ordered Exeter to rerun their FA Cup first-round replay game against Bradford.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 4:16 pm

The Grecians have been told to play their League Two rivals for a third time this month after they fielded a sixth substitute during their 3-0 extra-time win at St James Park on Tuesday night.

Exeter boss Matt Taylor admitted it was an honest mistake as Josh Key replaced Sam Nombe after the game finished goalless after 90 minutes.

However, the result has now been struck off the record books, with the replay set to be held for a second time on Tuesday, November 30 – the same day the Blues were meant to travel to Devon in the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy.

That means another relook at the calendar for Pompey manager Danny Cowley just 24 hours after the Fratton Park outfit were forced to revert back to the original date of Tuesday, December 7 for their televised League One game against Sheffield Wednesday.

The week commencing December 13 now appears set to host the Blues’ rearranged trip to Exeter.

That’s the EFL’s preferred option, with it being the first available opportunity for both clubs to play the Trophy tie.

However, The News understands that Pompey’s preference would be for the tie to be played a week later, between their trip to AFC Wimbledon on December 18 and their Boxing day game against Oxford.

Exeter manager Matt Taylor made an 'honest mistake' Picture: George Wood/Getty Images

It is believed their Hamsphire Senior Cup game against AFC Stoneham had been earmarked for the week of December 13, after it was originally due to be held on Tuesday November 30.

That fixture also now needs a new date.

Speaking to the BBC after the FA’s ruling, Exeter manager Taylor said: ‘I should have done more due diligence as manager, it's my responsibility.

‘In the meetings with the officials before the game and during the game the information that was relayed to us was wrong, hence why I think we're still in the competition because we've not tried to cheat the system.

‘It's an honest mistake and it's not just ourselves who've made that mistake, but we feel the brunt of that responsibility because it's ourselves who've ultimately been punished.’

The winner of the Exeter v Bradford game will travel to Cambridge United in the FA Cup second round on Saturday December 4.

Pompey host Harrogate on the same day.

If that requires a replay then the Blues will need to find a date for that before the third round takes place the weekend of January 8-9.