ANDOVER Football Club were faced with major problems on Tuesday after their first home Southern League clash of the new campaign was postponed by referee Furneaux at 7pm when the Portway pitch was deemed dangerous and unplayable.

The playing surface had already come in for considerable criticism during the summer and the staging of the six a side competition at the end of May was at the time also looked upon with some trepidation. However, Tuesday’s events have now thrown the club into more trouble as the league are bound to look at the situation with some punishment in mind.

Lions’ boss Andy Leader was in no mood to disagree with referee Furneaux and told the Advertiser: “I have no issues at all with the decision to call the game is just another embarrassing episode at the club and in truth my players and management team deserve more than this.”

What had already become a poor surface has been made worse by a number of rabbit holes which the club have attempted to fill in but the pitch was not acceptable to the officials or to Sholing who made their concerns clear on their arrival. In fact the Portsmouth Road based side, known as VTFC until the summer, have yet to play a game as Saturday’s game was also called off as opponents Bromsgrove Rovers have ceased playing and have been thrown out of the league. What is of more pressing concern is tomorrow’s home game with Paulton Rovers which is almost certain to be called off. It is unlikely that the Somerset club would be able to reverse the fixture at short notice as they are bound to have a reserve game at Winterfield Road and so negotiations will have to start with them and the league.

There is also a reserve game due at the Portway next Wednesday which will certainly bite the dust and that would give the club until September 18 to get the pitch playable as they have three away games on the trot. The possibility of an FA Cup replay with Sittingbourne on Tuesday, August 31 could add further fuel to the fire.

Should the pitch require extensive work before it becomes playable then they would have to ask for future home games to be reversed or even look at playing at the likes of Winchester, Salisbury or Thatcham. The club are expected to put out a statement on their website in due course and supporters are advised to check that, and the Andover Advertiser website, before travelling on Saturday.