“A DEVASTATING hammer blow” was the verdict of Whitby Town chairman Graham Manser after Saturday’s late postponement against league leaders FC Halifax Town cost the club an estimated £5,500.
The West Yorkshire side were set to bring around 500 supporters - much more than Town’s highest crowd this season - but despite passing a noon pitch inspection, the game was called off at 1.45pm, just over an hour from kick-off.
Many FC Halifax followers had already completed the 80-mile trip and some even helped Blues fans remove surface water from the pitch at the Turnbull Ground.
Whitby have already missed out on a weekend visit from FC United of Manchester, who have brought more than 1,200 supporters to games in the town, over the past two years.
Blues manager Tommy Cassidy said missing out on another game felt “like a kick in the teeth for the club.”
He also revealed: “As soon as Halifax’s team arrived, their manager Neil Aspin said to me ‘Tommy this is unplayable’ and he had a point.
“I was there when the referee inspected at noon and passed it on, but he said there had to be no more rain and by 1.45pm he’d called it off.”
The game has now been rearranged for Wednesday 13 April with less than half the travelling supporters expected to make the trip.
Whitby were set to host Matlock Town that night, but the Derbyshire side visit in little over a week instead, on Wednesday 9 March.
One of the Seasiders’ main sponsors, The Stables Restaurant on Guisborough Road, will host a Casino Night on Friday 11 March at no cost to the club, to try to recoup some of the lost earnings from Saturday’s postponement.
The night is just £5 a head and includes a buffet supper.
All are welcome but places are limited, so those interested in attending should contact Mr Manser on (01947) 605921.
Meanwhile, the Blues will again be without skipper Tony Hackworth for the six-pointer at Ossett Town tonight (Tues 1 March).
The 30-year-old former Leeds United man is still a fortnight away from a return, after damaging ankle ligaments at FC United of Manchester.
Striker Ash Davis will also miss out with a groin strain, though Ged Dalton and Andy Campbell are both expected to recover from a hamstring pull and broken nose, respectively. Dave McTiernan is suspended.
Cassidy has signed Joe Cornforth, a 20-year-old midfield player who came through the academy at Premier League Sunderland.
Cornforth, who can also play in the centre of defence, has figured for Blue Square Premier duo Grimsby Town and Darlington earlier this season.
Second-bottom Ossett trail Cassidy’s men by one place and three points.
They won a vital derby at fourth-bottom Frickley 1-0 on Saturday, with ex-Whitby forward Jamie Hopcutt on target.
It was just a second win since November for Phil Sharpe’s side and welcome revenge after a reverse against the same outfit, 11 days earlier.
The Blues can move up three places with a victory of their own, which is made more important as they visit Wales and second-top Colwyn Bay this weekend.
Admission at Ingfield is £8 for adults and £4 for concessions, with under 16s admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult.