'Disgusted' Stourbridge hit out at league as last-minute match postponement is confirmed

Stourbridge FC have hit out at the Southern League after tonight's (Wednesday) play-off semi-final with Alvechurch was called off just hours before kick-off - and re-arranged for tomorrow night (Thursday).

It follows the postponement of the other play-off semi-final between Kings Lynn and Stratford Town, which was also due to be played tonight (Wednesday) at the same time, after Stratford were accused of fielding an ineligible player in a recent match.

An urgent investigation was launched yesterday by the league and the Football Association which could see Stratford facing a points deduction, potentially dropping them outside the play-off places.

Supporters had already been left confused when Alvechurch posted a statement declaring that the league had called off the match off yesterday lunchtime - but this was then contradicted by Stourbridge, who maintained that discussions with the league were still ongoing.

Stourbridge and Alvechurch both confirmed on social media this morning, 12 hours before kick-off, that there had still been no final decision from the league.

Confirmation that the match would not take place tonight was finally revealed around two hours later at 09:30.

A strongly-worded statement posted on the Glassboys' website from the club's chairman Andy Pountney said they were "disgusted" by the decision and were considering withdrawing from the play-offs altogether in protest.

"We are extremely disappointed to announce that this evening's play-off semi-final against Alvechurch must be postponed," Mr. Pountney's statement said.

"We were informed yesterday (Tuesday) lunchtime by the Southern League that the game should be postponed on the grounds of the best interest and fairness.

"We are disgusted at this decision and have been in several hours of discussions with league concerning this matter.

"We have been informed that they would like us to play the fixture on the same day as the other semi-final, citing unfair advantage to the teams if they play sooner than the other semi-finalists.

"The outrageous decision that has been made clearly jeopardises whether we can play the fixture at the War Memorial Athletic Ground, due to us ground-sharing with the cricket club.

"The league rules clearly state the fixture should be played tonight and with the league announcing the postponement of tonight’s fixture they have clearly broken their own rules.

"We are still discussing with the league as to when the fixture is to be played, given the unreasonable situation we have been put in. We are also considering whether to withdraw from the play-offs altogether in disgust of the decision that has been taken and the way this situation has been handled by the appropriate bodies.

"Once we have a clearer picture of this mess we will let you know."

Alvechurch later posted on Twitter that the situation "should never have got to this point", expressing their sympathy with Stourbridge's anger.

A subsequent tweet from the Glassboys said: "We talk consistently about being a community club, everything we try and do is for the wider community.

"We pride ourselves in doing everything the right way and putting you, the fans, first.

"We will continue to do this and fight for what we feel is right and proper."

Even though any potential implications surrounding Stratford Town would have no impact on either Stourbridge or Alvechurch, the Southern League maintained that the match should be postponed on the grounds of fairness.

This is because the winners of the two play-offs are due to face each other in the final next Monday and the league wants both matches to go ahead at the same time to ensure one match does not influence the other, and to give both teams equal recovery time ahead of the final.

Supporters have been left fuming by the postponement, with several commenting on social media that they had been left out of pocket after buying train tickets to travel to Stourbridge from afar for the match.

It has since been confirmed that the match will be played tomorrow night (Thursday) at 19:45 at Stourbridge's War Memorial Ground.

Fans had warned that some supporters may not have been able to make the re-arranged game had it been played on Friday or Saturday due to people being away for the bank holiday weekend.


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