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Notts County express frustration at postponement of their scheduled National League game at Dover Athletic


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Notts County have expressed their frustration following the postponement of their scheduled match at Dover on Saturday.

The National League game was called off, around two hours before kick-off, by the referee upon his arrival. Hythe's Isthmian South East home match against Whitehawk was also postponed late - just before 2.30pm - at Reachfields.

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter felt the match against Notts County on Saturday should have gone ahead. Picture: Tony Flashman
Dover chairman Jim Parmenter felt the match against Notts County on Saturday should have gone ahead. Picture: Tony Flashman

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter disagreed with the decision at Crabble, saying he felt the pitch was in a playable condition.

But several fans had already made the trip - only to be left disappointed. Notts County had a similar situation relating to the postponement of their Boxing Day match at King's Lynn.

Magpies head coach Ian Burchnall said on their club website: "For me, today has been a disgrace.

"Fans have sacrificed their Saturday, and a lot of money, to travel four hours in support of their football club and they have been massively let down by a complete lack of communication from Dover - just as they were at King’s Lynn.

"We understand that weather conditions can worsen even in a short time period. But to not inform us of the game coming under question shows a complete lack of respect to our supporters and us as a club.

Dover assistant Nicky Southall had been due to take charge of the side with manager Andy Hessenthaler having tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dover assistant Nicky Southall had been due to take charge of the side with manager Andy Hessenthaler having tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"Last season, when games were being played behind-closed-doors, proved just how important fans are to football, particularly at this level of the game. It’s disgraceful that Dover have allowed this completely avoidable situation to play out as it has.

"Our supporters have been badly let down once again and the National League need to address this for the good of all clubs."

Whites assistant manager Nicky Southall, who had been due to take charge of the side on the day, with boss Andy Hessenthaler having tested positive for Covid-19, said he could understand why the decision had been made to call the match off.

He told KentOnline: "We are, obviously, gutted. We wanted to play the game.

"It was a great game to look forward to against one of the biggest clubs in the league. But you can see the weather out there now - it’s absolutely tipping it down! It’s an hour before kick-off.

"The referee went on the pitch with his officials to roll the ball around and, to be fair, it was rolling. But as soon as he threw the ball up in the air, it just bounced and got stuck in the mud.

"He felt, two hours before kick-off, with the rain expected to carry on right throughout the game, that he felt for the safety and welfare of the players (that it needed to be postponed) which I get. That’s the most important thing at the end.

"We want to play but we want to make it an enjoyable game, not just for the players, but for the fans to see a bit of a spectacle as well.

"We don’t want to see a lottery out there, even though that would have been a bit of a leveller in many ways.

"But ultimately, we want to look after the players and make sure that they don’t come out with any injuries."

Chairman Parmenter told Dover's website: "The pitch is firm, there's no standing water.

"He (the referee) said he's done it for the welfare of the players - well, I don't know what they are used to playing on these days, but the pitch was much worse when we played Dagenham.

"I think it's the wrong decision. I believe he's a new referee, so maybe he is not that experienced.

"But the game could have, easily, gone ahead (so I'm) very disappointed in the decision."

Meanwhile Southall also gave an update on Hessenthaler's condition, with the 56-year-old missing training on Thursday, and now isolating after a positive test.

He said: "He's a little bit rough, he has a persistent cough. But in terms of his overall well-being, I think he's fine.

"He has had three jabs and I think the jabs have actually calmed the effects of Covid.

"He has had it before and felt really rough but, this time, he doesn’t feel anywhere near that bad, so the jabs are clearly doing the right thing."

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