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Rain stops play at final

PUBLISHED: 16:52 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 21:47 02 July 2010

HORNCHURCH fans were left wet and wild after their Essex Senior Cup final clash with Colchester fell victim to a waterlogged pitch at Dagenham. Persistent early evening rain left standing water on the Victoria Road playing surface and the efforts of groun

HORNCHURCH fans were left wet and wild after their Essex Senior Cup final clash with Colchester fell victim to a waterlogged pitch at Dagenham.

Persistent early evening rain left standing water on the Victoria Road playing surface and the efforts of groundstaff proved futile.

Referee John Hopkins was left with little choice but to call the tie off, with several hundred Urchins fans in attendance.

Hornchurch general manager Colin McBride said: "I was sitting in the [Marcus James] stand at 7pm and the rain just started coming down [heavier].

"At the end of the day, there was nothing we could do. You just knew it would be off.

"It was the right decision, but just not the one we wanted on the night."

McBride added: "The referee was really sympathetic, but it was a no-brainer. The match would've been a farce and it would've ruined the pitch."

Shortstaffed Urchins - looking to win the prestigious competition for the second time following their 2007 success over Great Wakering Rovers at Southend - had been forced to name youth-team players Connor Halsey, Joe Pattison, Liam Valentine and Frankie Williams on their substitutes bench.

Colchester, however, included eight first-team squad members, including former Watford man Jonjo O'Toole, despite being in the thick of the League One play-off race.

A new date for the final was still to be arranged when the Recorder went to press this week, but there is a chance it could be held back until the end of the month.

McBride added: "We've got a few Tuesday games now and we're struggling for numbers as it is.

"The postponement won't make much difference in terms of our side. We might have Mark Janney back, but Jo Flack has got to have an operation on his knee now so his season is probably over."

Hornchurch are due to entertain Ashford Town tomorrow (Saturday) and visit Billericay - who sacked boss Brian Statham and assistant Barry Lakin at the weekend - on Monday.

And McBride believes it is crunch time for his side's play-off hopes.

"It's a big weekend and I'd say it's probably make-or-break time," he said.

"I would think we need four points minimum this weekend to keep us in the play-off race.

"We keep thinking we've blown it, then other teams lose and we're back in it again. But I think after this weekend we'll know."

*HORNCHURCH stage a charity match between Tottenham Veterans XI and a Colchester United XI in aid of Help For Heroes on Sunday (2pm). Entry is £5.


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