No rest for Hartlepool United players after postponed Accrington Stanley game

Standing rain on the pitch at The Crown Ground home to Accrington Stanley.
Standing rain on the pitch at The Crown Ground home to Accrington Stanley.
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Hartlepool United’s players will be back on the training ground today following their wasted journey to Accrington Stanley, writes Roy Kelly.

The Pools squad will be at Maiden Castle this morning after last night’s League Two match was postponed less than an hour before the scheduled kick-off.

Hand on heart, I think, at the end of the day, the referee has made the right decision,

Referee Darren Drysdale inspected the Crown Ground pitch with managers John Coleman and Ronnie Moore and ruled the waterlogged surface unplayable.

Moore, who backed the Lincolnshire official’s decision, told SportMail he pondered taking his first XI to Burley this afternoon.

Pools Reserves were playing a behind-closed-doors friendly against a strong second string at the Championship club.

“I thought about taking the side to Burnley,” he said.

“But if you take the lads to play on a Wednesday and someone gets injured?

“There again we can train and someone still gets injured.

“But I would probably look a prat if I took the lads away to play and I lost two players to injury against Burnley Reserves.”

Moore confirmed that Michael Duckworth would have played at Stanley last night, though Scott Harrison, who filled in at right-back at Mansfield, would have missed out.

“Ducky would have played,” said the Pools manager. “Scott Harrison has a sore knee, but he would be all right for the weekend.’’

Moore believes the correct ruling was made in a very wet Lancashire last night.

“Hand on heart, I think, at the end of the day, the referee has made the right decision,” said Moore.

“While you could not see any visible puddles on the pitch, it was so wet in the corners.

“I think the referee was fearful that more rain was forecast.

“If he started the game and that happened, he looks a prat if he has to call it off at half-time.

“The four corners of the pitch were dangerous, no doubt about it.

“The ref tried to run with the ball in the far corner and it wasn’t having it.

“It wouldn’t have been a proper game of football.

“Supporters would probably have loved it because the players would have been slipping and sliding, it could have ended up five each.

“Mind you, the way we’ve been playing it might have been 5-5 anyway!”

Accrington Stanley had a similar scenario earlier this month when they drew with Newport County in wretched conditions.

“This pitch is miles better than it was a couple of weeks ago when they played Newport,” said Moore.

“That game should never have been played and John Coleman felt it would have been OK [last night].

“Everyone has to make a decision and for me it’s the right one on safety grounds.”