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Ashford United face fine after being forced to call- off opening game of the season due to 3G pitch delays

Ashford United face punishment after being forced to call off their opening Southern Counties East League home game against Beckenham Town on Saturday.
United seem set to be charged in accordance with league rule 8.6 – failing to fulfil a fixture – which carries a possible fine of between £250 and £1,000.

Ashford United owner Don Crosbie hard at work Pic: Gary Browne
Ashford United owner Don Crosbie hard at work Pic: Gary Browne

This follows delays in the installation of the new 3G pitch at Homelands and United owner Don Crosbie is continuing to point the blame for this on Operation Stack.

Breaking off from supervising the laying of the new surface which finally began this week, Mr Crosbie said: “The league can fine us £1,000 and I’ll pay it, then send the bill to the government, seeking compensation for Stack which everybody is doing, although I know I won’t get it.

“I am more interested in the long-term future of the club, than losing a couple of games at the start of the season.”

United formally told the league they would be unable to stage the Beckenham fixture in an email on Friday evening, only for Saturday’s pre-season opponents Hythe to offer to stage the game which subsequently didn’t prove possible.

The club's first away game of the season, at newly-promoted Kent Invicta League champions Hollands & Blair, has been brought forward 24 hours to Tuesday night, as the Gillingham club’s Star Meadow ground is unavailable the following day.

Meanwhile, Ashford skipper Gary Clarke says twice runners-up United can expect no favours in their bid to win the SECL title at the third attempt.

Clarke, stepping up his rehab after suffering a badly torn abductor, said: “There is no sentiment, we have no right to go up and have got to earn it. We have got to apply ourselves and make sure we show the consistency you need to win league titles.

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