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Page last updated at 19:53 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

York City upset by late Grays postponement

Snowbound Grays pitch
The Grays v York City match was called off 90 minutes before kick-off

York City's Blue Square Premier match at Grays was controversially postponed just over 90 minutes before kick-off.

Referee Amy Rayner called the game off after arriving from her Leicestershire home in mid-morning to find the pitch still covered in snow.

Both managers, Grays boss Julian Dicks and York's Martin Foyle, were happy for the game to still go ahead.

But York director Sophie Hicks said: "I think Grays have been overly optimistic about the match going ahead."

Hicks, who got as far as South Mimms services before hearing the news, added: "Grays were desperate to have the game on.

"It's a difficult time for cash flow for everybody. Also, I believe they were launching a new kit today.

"All the communication to our team who stayed overnight, to us, and to the referee, was that they had cleared the pitch and it was playable.

"To find out when they arrived at the ground was really devastating. Martin was very, very cross about the situation.

"The communication has been disappointing."

Several fixtures in the area, including the match at Ebbsfleet just across the River Thames, were postponed by Friday night. And, in the end, the entire Blue Square Premier programme was called off.

But the game was called off (at 1315 GMT), just as players, officials and fans were starting to arrive at the Recreation Ground.

It was a mere 15 minutes after Grays had announced that the pitch had been passed fit to play - but the referee's primary concern was a safety issue, with regard to potentially dangerously icy conditions later in the afternoon.

"We both wanted to play on it, me and Martin Foyle," Grays manager Julian Dicks told BBC Radio York.

"It's very soft underneath. We've had people here since 8 o'clock this morning working on it and, for me, it's playable.

"The referee said it was playable but they think it might freeze over again.

"The snow is compacting and it could come up and hit somebody in the face which, to be honest, is laughable. I can't see the problem."

Both teams trained on the snowbound pitch before York's players set out on the 240-mile journey home.

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see also
Grays Athletic P-P York City
19 Dec 09 |  Non League

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