Potters Bar Town P-P Margate - Looking at the pitch it's the right decision and I'm gutted for the supporters who have travelled from Margate, says manager Jay Saunders

Tuesday 11th January 2022
Potters Bar Town Margate
Location Parkfield, Watkins Rise, The Walk, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire EN6 1QB
Kickoff 11/01/2022 19:45

Isthmian League Premier Division
Tuesday 11 January 2022
Stephen McCartney reports from Parkfield

MARGATE manager Jay Saunders says he feels disappointed for the fans that made the 184-mile round trip to Potters Bar only for this Isthmian League Premier Division match to be postponed by match referee Jack Bloxham around 90 minutes before kick-off.

Hosts Potters Bar Town have now had their last four games postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Parkfield and issued an apology on Sunday after their game against Cray Wanderers was also postponed by the match referee despite passing an eleven o’clock pitch inspection.

A club statement said: “We would like to apologise to all the fans who travelled to the game on Saturday.  The club would like to apologise for the nature in which the game was postponed against Cray Wanderers.

“The heavy rainfall unfortunately took its toll on the pitch after the inspection and despite all of our efforts to ensure that the game was still played, the match referee deemed the pitch to be waterlogged.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to Cray Wanderers fans in particular, who were very understanding of the circumstances, as were the management and directors at the club.

“We did appreciate the fans who stayed at the club for drinks and a pool competition. 

“We look forward to welcoming Cray Wanderers back when the match is re-arranged.”

Meanwhile, a club spokesman contacted this website on Monday morning and hinted that tonight’s game against Margate could suffer similar fate.

He said: “Not an encouraging weather forecast for tomorrow – we were unable to play Saturday – our third home game in a row called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

“We continue to work on the pitch but there has been no drying weather and the water table must be very high as the pitch is not draining water.

“We will be arranging a pitch inspection early enough to advise the Margate team and yourself before travelling.”

Meanwhile, “a working party had been in action,” ahead of the pitch inspection today.  A local referee passed the playing surface playable at around 14:30 this afternoon  – but Margate’s fans and players (who don’t all live in Kent) made a wasted trip to Hertfordshire and both Kent sides will have to return here on a midweek date later on in the campaign.

“Looking at the pitch it’s the correct decision,” said Saunders.

“Obviously we had Saturday called off at Leatherhead and it was probably about right and this, definitely.  The ref came here and said ‘I’m worried about the players’ safety,’ especially over the far side and you can’t really argue about it."

The Bearsted resident added: “As soon as the ref went out and threw the ball in the air it just died and speaking to a couple of their players they said ‘it was worse then it was on Saturday’ and they were called off.

“The biggest disappointment for me is obviously the journey, not so much for the players, partly for the players and myself but for the supporters really.  They hired a minibus and they’ve all come along and two games on a trot they’ve travelled all the way down from Margate and I’m gutted for them.  What can you do?”

Potters Bar Town have issued another statement, to apologise to Margate supporters. 

"The club would like to apologise for the nature in which the game was postponed against Margate on Tuesday.

"A working party spent some time on the pitch prior to a mid afternoon referee's inspection - which considered that at that time the pitch should be playable.

"The weather forecast did not suggest the additional rainfall that unfortunately took its toll on the pitch after the inspection and the match referee deemed the pitch to be waterlogged.

"So sadly we have again seen supporters, officials and players of both clubs make a wasted journey."

Wins over Cray Wanderers (3-2), Folkestone Invicta (3-1) and Bowers & Pitsea (4-2) over the festive period has seen Margate rise up to ninth-place in the Isthmian League Premier Division table, having collected 37 points from their 23 league games.

Margate haven’t played since Monday 3 January, while the bottom six Scholars’ last played a home game at Parkside on Saturday 11 December when bottom-of-the-table Leatherhead clinched a 4-3 win.

Margate play Hornchurch on the artificial surface at Hartsdown Park on Saturday, a side that are one place above them in the league table with one more point having played one game fewer than Saunders’ men.