The big mistake referee Martin Coy made as Portsmouth and Crewe are left fuming at postponement debacle

All eyes were on the man in the middle.

By Jordan Cross
Sunday, 20th February 2022, 12:30 pm

And, on this occasion, Martin Coy has got it horribly, horribly wrong.

Crewe’s pitch had visibly worsened in the preceding hour as the Cheshire rain teemed down.

The focus lay on the strip of pitch in front of The Main Stand, which was holding surface water and widening by the minute.

At 1.30pm the game was on, with the caveat there was concern from the ref about what could happen if the weather didn’t relent.

Some unofficial checks on how the ball rolled at this stage, however, offered clear evidence the match was playable.

Twenty minutes later Coy's clear view was that was no longer the case.

David Artell and Danny Cowley speak to ref Martin Coy on Saturday.

It was a viewpoint forcibly disputed by Crewe boss David Artell as he angrily demonstrated.

What was perpetuating Artell’s ire was the official was not taking on board the view of himself and those Crewe staff who knew the pitch best.

The ref found himself in an invidious position, no doubt, one where he had to make a judgment based on ensuring the safety of those he was due to oversee.

Then there was the pressure of knowing 1,500 supporters had made the trip north at great expense, Crewe didn’t want the financial hit of the game not going ahead and both dressing rooms wanted to play.

Coy’s big mistake was in making a very demonstrable and visible decision the game wasn’t going ahead there and then.

By this time, however, fans were on their way back down the M6 and on trains south, with police and stewards told to stand down.

A decision from Coy to reconvene even 30 minutes later would have likely delivered a different decision, as the skies cleared and the water drained as the Railwaymen ground staff confidently stated it would.

They say all good referees give themselves the time to come to a definitive verdict on the big calls. Mr Coy let himself down by not doing just that.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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