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Eastleigh furious after late Silverlake call off

By Simon Walter -

EASTLEIGH were left fuming after last night's big Blue Square South match against Farnborough was called off just minutes before kick off.

Hundreds of fans were also furious when the referee decided the Silverlake Stadium pitch was unplayable at 7.40pm.

It is the second time this season the fixture has been postponed and Eastleigh manager Ian Baird described the decision as "a disgrace".

He said: "The pitch is in better condition than it has been for our last three home games and I used to play on pitches that were ten times worse.

"The inconsistency is absolutely ridiculous.

"Yes there are certain areas on there that in this day and age would be deemed dangerous.

"But my point to the officials and the assessor is how can one week a game be on without a problem at all but be called off at 7.40pm the next week when the conditions aren't as bad?

"How can they call it off five minutes before kick off when they've been here since 5.45pm?"

Baird was desperate to see his side get their promotion bid back on track after a fixture-less weekend and a second successive home defeat, against Dover, a week ago.

Third-placed Farnborough arrived at the Silverlake Stadium backed by a healthy away following, having notched their ninth win in 11 since losing at home to Eastleigh on New Year's Day.

But Baird accused Farnborough manager Steve King of putting pressure on 23-year-old referee Daniel Cook to get the game postponed. He continued: "Farnborough under no circumstances wanted the game on and they've used every advantage they had to get the game off.

"If I was in Steve King's shoes I'd have done exactly the same thing because this was a massive game and they played on a heavy pitch 48 hours previously and have a couple of injuries.

"I tried to do the same thing last Monday lunchtime, when the pitch was a heck of a lot worse.

"But that referee wouldn't entertain the idea of calling the game off."

Referee Cook, who comes from Gosport, defended his decision.

"Both managers felt it was too dangerous," he said.

"It was touch and go when I arrived and when the players warmed up I became more concerned because of how much it churned up.

"There were four or five areas of the pitch that were particularly dangerous."

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