Shrewsbury Town have given their views on the postponement of Tuesday night's EFL Trophy Semi-Final tie against Yeovil Town. The match was called off just after 11.00a.m. this morning after Shrewsbury-based referee Rob Lewis inspected the playing surface on behalf of match referee Darren Drysdale. The message given was that there were already patches of the New Meadow playing surface that were frozen, and that with the weather forecast set for freezing conditions tonight, and the covers having to be removed in time for the game, that the state of the pitch was likely to worsen.
Yeovil Town's first team squad had travelled up to the West Midlands on Sunday, spending two nights in the area in preparation for the match, and so obviously wanted the game to be played. However, Shrewsbury CEO Brian Caldwell told his club's website that his primary concern was trying to stop Glovers fans from leaving for the game, with their decision to ask for a pitch inspection being done with that in mind:
"I think everyone's disappointed. Yeovil were up here and we wanted the game on, but at the end of the day I think you need to use a bit of common sense. Part of my thinking was that you've got 250 Yeovil fans that were scheduled to come up 180 odd miles and the risk, in my head, was that the temperature is set to go to minus three, minus four during the game, which would obviously freeze the pitch."
Caldwell added that he could see a situation where the freezing temperatures would have potentially allowed the game to be started, but that there was a high risk of the game being abandoned partway through. He said that if the thinking was that the game wouldn't complete then it was better not to have fans inside the ground, particularly those from Somerset:
"I think the last thing you need is a bit of stick for the game being abandoned when people have travelled 180 miles to then have a round trip back again. It wouldn’t be fair and I think sometimes you've got to use common sense and say 'well if the forecast is correct then the pitch isn't going to get any better'. Sometimes in football we don’t look after the fans, but I think in this incidence we really do have to think about the travelling distances."
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