Waterlogged Reading match postponed

January 6, 2007

Reading's FA Cup third round tie against Burnley has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Following an inspection 10 minutes before kick-off, referee Rob Styles declared the pitch unplayable with the penalty area at the South Stand under a large pool of water.

Heavy overnight rain, which showed no sign of easing as the start of the match approached, had also left other sections of the pitch under water.

Reading declared all tickets would be refunded or re-issued for Tuesday, January 9, the date announced for the rearranged fixture.

Both managers backed Styles' decision to postpone the match.

Reading boss Steve Coppell said: 'There wasn't a decision to make, the game had to be called off.

'Some people had come along way and we were all set to start, but in the end there wasn't any other decision to make.

'We could have given it a little more time but the weather was forecast to be like this until at least 4.30pm.

'It was pointless hanging around in case it cleared up after that. It's so disappointing because we just wanted to play.'

Burnley manager Steve Cotterill insisted his side were 'desperate' to play but had no complaints with the postponement.

It was the second time in succession the Coca-Cola Championship club had seen their fixture called off with the New Year's Day match against Style also falling foul of the weather.

He said: 'I don't have any problems with the decision. I've said before that weather pays no attention to criticism.

'The referee didn't have a choice and I reckon the groundsman would have had a few babies had we played on that.

'We were desperate to play but there's nothing you can do.'

London Irish's Guinness Premiership rugby match against Saracens at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow has also been postponed.

The tie between League Two Barnet and Coca-Cola Championship side Colchester was also postponed, while Cheltenham's League One clash against Scunthorpe also fell foul of the weather.

In the Nationwide Conference, Cambridge's match against Forest Green and Stafford's clash with Stevenage were also called off, as was Weymouth's home tie against Burton.

Meanwhile, Reading Director of Football Nick Hammond has expressed his delight after Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt signed new contracts at the Madejski Stadium. Doyle has signed until 2010, while Hunt's deal is until summer 2009.

Hammond told the club's website: 'Kevin's contract extension is very significant and of major importance to our plans moving forward.

'He's quickly become an outstanding Premiership striker, and the great thing about Kevin is that despite all his success and his meteoric rise in the past 18 months, he's still the same level-headed young man that joined us from Cork City.'

He continued, 'Stephen has been terrific for us since joining and I'm delighted that he's signed for two more years. He has great energy levels, bags of enthusiasm and is a real breath of fresh air around the training ground every day.'

Chairman John Madejski said: 'This is extremely good news and I am delighted that Kevin and Stephen have committed themselves to Reading Football Club.

'They are two of the nicest lads you could possibly wish to meet, and they are both very important players who epitomise everything that is good about football.'