Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver fumes after re-arranged Barnet clash is abandoned at half-time

Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver was left to fume over a wasted journey to North London after Tuesday night's National League clash with Barnet was abandoned at half-time.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The fixture, originally due to be played on Saturday but then postponed due a waterlogged pitch, was hastily re-arranged by the Bees despite a bleak weather forecast.

And, when the heavens opened almost immediately upon kick-off, the already-saturated playing surface at The Hive quickly began to deteriorate.

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The first half of the game was completed, however with the scores locked at 1-1, referee Gary Parsons deemed conditions to have become unplayable and called a halt to proceedings during the interval.

A frustrated Weaver accepted that the decision to abandon the contest was the correct one, but insisted that the match should never have been re-arranged for Tuesday evening.

"I think logic has to play a part sometimes," he said.

"People want games on, and we all wanted to play tonight, but looking at the Met Office, they don't often get it wrong. The forecasts these days are very accurate, there was a strong chance of rain from 7pm and the pitch just wasn't gonna hold that rain.

"If it's not gonna hold light rain, then the game should never have gone ahead.

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"It's a fair judgement at half-time to call it off because if the ball can't bounce or roll then it's not a proper football game.

"It's just frustrating, frustrating for fans who've taken half a day off work, and we have to come down here again now. It's the expense of it all and we won't be recompensed.

"It's disappointing."

Weaver admitted pre-match that he was surprised that the fixture had been re-scheduled for Tuesday, particularly with the weather forecast suggesting that there was more rain on its way.

And, although Barnet were confident that they could get their pitch into a playable condition, their decision has now been shown to be a poor one, according to the Harrogate chief.

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"I thought it was daft to be honest but they [Barnet] said there was a strong chance of the game being on because they had people on the pitch with forks and wind-blowers, but they needed more than that, let's be honest," Weaver added.

"They should have looked at the forecast and should have booked it in for the 24th [of March] as originally proposed, but someone had a re-think on Sunday and, in hindsight, it was a daft decision.

"Safety has to be looked at. A little top up of rain and it was unplayable and dangerous for the players. That's got to be looked at rather than just trying to squeeze games in.

"They needed to get lucky for the game to be played and they didn't. Now it's wrecked their pitch and we'll have to come down and do it all again."

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George Thomson's goal inside the first minute handed Town a very early lead, while the visitors also had two strong penalty appeals turned down before Paul McCallum restored parity seven minutes before the break.

Barnet's equaliser may have been a just reward for their strong finish to the opening half, but Weaver felt his team performed well and deserved to come in ahead.

"I can be pleased with the efforts of the players, it was a really positive performance and we could have gone in 3-1 or 4-1 up," he said.

"I thought we were playing very well. I thought there were some major decisions that were going against us - two blatant penalty decisions not given, it's laughable.

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"We didn't turn up for the battle last year and didn't perform, but we were certainly performing there, 1-0 up after 20 seconds.

"I think it shows that we are ready to do battle with anyone."

Town return to action on Saturday when they entertain Eastleigh at the CNG Stadium, 3pm kick-off.