BORO were getting battered and we got off the hook. The abandonment was a real result for us because on balance of play, we were going to get a real mauling. Ironically the third of a game which was called off earned Boro’s longest highlight’s package this term on the Football League Show and the highlights they showed were actually balanced it really was that one sided. Ipswich’s victory was inevitable.
Unfortunately for them, the abandonment was also inevitable. The pitch passed the 11am inspection because it was playable under the tent. Did they think they could leave it on and start the game under there?
At that point temperatures in Ipswich were still well below zero. We were just past Peterborough then in minus 10 and freezing fog and waiting be be texted what seemed the only possible outcome. It should have been called off then.
It “only just” survived a second inspection at 2pm and there were still concerns from Tony Mowbray and the officials over a 10 yard strip in the shadow of the main stand that was still very crisp and very hard. With temperatures not projected to reach zero before kick off then set to dip again rapidly once the sun went down it was never going to get any better. They should have called it off then.
Playing the game was crazy. From the press box that strip was noticeably white, glistening and very slippy. Joe Bennett was slipping all over the place. After seven minutes there was a technical area conflab between both bosses and the referee over the deteriorating conditions but having made the decision to play they had but no option but to plough on and see if they could make it. From there on in the evidence they had got it wrong piled up every tme the ball skidded down that flank.
The key moment came when the linesman, having being reduced to a slipping, sliding mess on the astrotuf strip down the touchline, moved inside and started running a line two yards inside the pitch, at one point tangling with Bennett and Emmanual-Thomas. It was becoming a farce and increasingly dangerous.
When Sonko went down and cracked a rib it didn’t actually look like it was related to the surface but that was the excuse needed for all parties to get the game off.
It should never have started. Over 700 Boro fans had to travel the best part of 10 hours in freezing and dangerous conditions for a game that was clearly never going to be completed. Local fans also had to travel in far from ideal conditions. Weather forecasts had Ipswich and its environs down as the coldest in the country with overnight lows of minus 14 and a slow daytime crawl towards zero.
It should really have been called off the evening before.
You can understand Ipswich wanted to play: they knew Boro would be injury depleted and tired from midweek extra time. They also had a ticket offer on and expected a bigger than normal crowd. And after a long barren spell they had won two games in a row. They were desperate to play.
But short term strategic advantage should never overide the saftey of the players and the fans. It was dangerous and disrespectful to expect 20,000 people to travel in atrocious conditions for a game on a pitch without undersoiling heating that could not be guarenteed to go ahead.
And Ipswich say Boro fans who travel for the rearranged game can have a ticket for half-price, That’s big of them. Ipswich should not only give free admission to the second game but give full refunds for this one. They gambled on the weather but it was the frozen fans left out of pocket,