THERE was frustration for Frome Town last night as their match at Gosport Borough was called off just as they completed their journey to the south coast.
Despite the hosts concluding that their Privett Park surface wouldn't require a pitch inspection late on Tuesday afternoon, the fixture eventually fell foul of the elements, leaving Darren Perrin's side with a wasted journey.
Gosport have apologised to the Robins players, officials and supporters with a statement on their official website, which reads: "The Club would like to apologise to its supporters and also to the players and officials and supporters of Frome Town FC for the lateness of the postponement of (Tuesday) evening’s Evo-Stik League fixture.
"The pitch was perfectly playable this afternoon and council contractors worked on the surface extensively, rolling it and laying sand in areas that were likely to be firm in order to help keep frost off. They left the ground at around 4.45pm.
"Bearing this in mind, no pitch inspection was required and none was planned after extensively studying the weather forecast, which said the temperature would drop no lower than zero degrees during the game and no further than minus one later in the night.
"Frome travelled at around 5pm, so there was no need at that time to stop them from travelling or to call an inspection.
"Match referee Maurice Taylor arrived and carefully inspected the surface over a 15 minute period and decided to postpone the game at 7.10pm, by which time Frome had just arrived at the ground.
"So two key questions: should we have stopped Frome from travelling? No, because in good faith we believed the game would be played and the surface was playable until around 6.30pm when they were practically at the ground. Could the Club have planned an earlier inspection? No, because there was no need, and any referee would have given the go ahead at that time.
"Gosport Borough Football Club understands the frustration of Frome Town FC and also of its own players, officials and supporters, but we would like to re-assure all parties that there was little that could be done to prevent this situation arising."
MORE FOOTBALL NEWS AND REPORTS IN THIS FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES