FA Trophy game abandoned after issue with replacement ref

Posted by Chris Wright

The FA Challenge Trophy (a kind of knock-down FA Cup-style competition for semi-pro clubs) fixture between Colwyn Bay and Altrincham on Saturday afternoon had to be abandoned with just seven minutes left to play when the referee on duty suffered a calf injury and was forced to limp off.

As there was no fourth official to call upon, a request was then put out over the loudspeakers at Colwyn's Red Lion Foods Stadium to see if anyone in attendance had any refereeing qualifications and was willing to fill in as linesman for the remainder of the tie so that the original linesman would be freed up to take over as referee.

Amazingly enough, an Altrincham fan with Grade 5 referee qualifications then made his way to the dugout and volunteered his services.

However, Colwyn Bay were not satisfied and, according to Altrincham's official Twitter feed, duly "protested against [letting the fan run the line] as the person smelt of alcohol.......".

Not to be perturbed, Altrincham then also offered the services of their assistant coach Ian Senior, who happily agreed to fill in as the assistant referee for the final seven minutes, but again, Colwyn Bay were unwilling to play ball.

The game was then suspended in the 83rd minute with the issue and the score left unresolved, with Altrincham chairman Grahame Rowley left fuming over Colwyn Bay's refusal to play on.

"I hope common sense prevails. We hope we don't have to come back for seven minutes. We were dominating. They should award the game to us," Rowley told the BBC.

"There was an announcement asking if there was an official. We put forward a fan, who is a level-five qualified referee. Colwyn Bay turned that down.

"We put forward our assistant to run the line. They refused that. They would not put forward anyone themselves. It's a poor show."

It is thought that, as they were trailing by two goals and being played off the park at the point the game was curtailed, Colwyn Bay are now hoping the game gets replayed in full on Tuesday evening.

Their manager, Frank Sinclair (yes, that Frank Sinclair), backs up his club's stance by telling the BBC that he was unwilling to let "any Tom, Dick or Harry come in and finish the last 10 minutes of the game" as an official.

"There was no one on our side that had any officials' badges. One of their staff said he would see the rest of the game out with no qualifications," Sincalir told BBC Five Live.

"It's human nature that if there was a big decision to make, we wouldn't have got it. I've been within my rights to not agree to carry on."

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