SWINDON GAME POSTPONED
By Martin Shaw, 29 February 2020
Mansfield Town’s game with Swindon Town has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Following heavy rain in Mansfield over the last 24 hours, local referee Dave Plowright deemed the pitch unplayable, and the postponement was announced at 9.35am.
It is only the second game called off due to bad weather at the One Call Stadium in the past five years, the other being against Crawley in November 2018, which is a good testament to the hard-working groundstaff led by Michael Merriman.
The game was due to be Mansfield’s first game on 29 February since 1992 and a 5-2 win over York City at Field Mill.
Local referee Dave Plowright told iFollow Stags:
"Because of the amount of rain we have had over the last 48 to 72 hours, there is water standing everywhere and it is a danger to players.
"The ball won't move and I can't believe how much rain there is on the field of play.
"The groundstaff tried their best, but the water table is so high there is nowhere for the water to go, it won't drain quick enough for kick off at 3.00.
"Both clubs agreed it would make the game a farce and be a danger to players, it is not playable and is one of those things."
Groundsman Mike Merriman told iFollow Stags:
"The decision is the right call. The pitch is full of water and it can't take any more, it's horrendous.
"There was not a lot we could do in the week with the rain we have had. You can't put a tractor on here, or a vertidrain.
"We put the rain covers on that we've got (on the West Stand side of the pitch), but other than that we have had to leave it alone and it has not gone our way.
"The pitch has got great drainage but the trouble is that the top of the pitch at the moment is capped off so it can't get through the top four inches to get through to the drainage. So we're looking to get a machine in to hopefully open that back up so we don't have any more of this in the future.
"It has been the hardest season for the pitch I have ever known in 22 years I've been here, it's been shocking.
"Groundsman all over the country are in the same boat ... literally ... it's been a nightmare.
"(Between now and the next home game) ... we will leave the pitch alone for 3 or 4 days, hopefully we get some dry weather, and then hire a machine in to see if we can get the top opened up."
Swindon Town manager said Mansfield Town manager Graham Coughlan was great help after warning the League Two match was likely to be off on Friday night
swindonadvertiser.co.uk, By Jonathan Leighfield @JonnyLeighfield
ANOTHER postponed fixture turned into some supplementary fitness training for the Swindon Town squad after their League Two fixture away at Mansfield was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
The pitch at the One Call Stadium was heavily congested on Saturday morning with water left behind my Storm Jorge throughout last week.
A swift decision was made by the officials and Swindon were left with another rearranged fixture after home matches against Scunthorpe United and Salford City also had to be moved last month.
Two other League Two fixtures were postponed on Saturday - Forest Green against Leyton Orient and Stevenage v Walsall also fell foul of the weather.
Manager Richie Wellens revealed he knew there would likely be no game on Friday night after a conversation with Stags boss Graham Coughlan, and projected the rearranged contest may take place at the end of March instead - though no confirmed date has yet been announced.
Wellens said: “Graham Coughlan was great - he rang me on Friday and said: ‘Rich, I would get a plan B if I were you because this game is going to be off.
“‘The pitch is in such a state with the amount of water we’ve had, it won’t be possible to shift it.’
“When we found out for sure, fans have already set off and it’s difficult for us to arrange anything at such late notice.
“Mansfield and Graham were great, they offered us their 3G pitch at their training ground - which was a lovely gesture - but we just decided to do some training at our hotel.
“It was a decent area at the side of a golf course where the players could do some hill runs. It’s not ideal, but it’s something different and good for their fitness.
“We’ll train again on Monday and then prepare for Scunthorpe on Tuesday night.”
While the Town players were sprinting up and down the side of an unnamed Nottinghamshire golf course, title rivals Exeter City and Crewe Alexandra were dropping points in their games.
Pitch inspection planned for 9.45am
mansfieldtown.net, 3pm Fri 28 Feb 2020
Mansfield Town can announce that a pitch inspection will take place at 9.45am tomorrow ahead of our scheduled Sky Bet League Two match at home to Swindon Town.
The inspection has been called following heavy rain in Mansfield today, with more forecast overnight.
Head groundsman Michael Merriman said: “We have covered the side of the pitch closest to the Ian Greaves Stand, with the pitch covers available to us, and have taken every precautionary measure possible to try and give the game the best possible chance of going ahead as planned.”
Read more at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2020/february/pitch-inspection-planned-for-9.45am
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