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Hendon's Pitch Is Sprayed With Glass

Vandals may have caused the postponement of Hendon's FA Umbro Trophy third round replay with Cambridge City on Tuesday. Referee Steve Artis called the game off after discovering broken glass on the pitch during a routine inspection.

Hendon secretary Graham Etchell said: "We are trying to discover the source of the glass. It could be the case that vandals smashed bottles and tossed them into a container of sand, or it may have been a contaminated load."

Following heavy rain, the ground staff sprayed the pitch with sand, which had been stored in a container at the rear of the ground.

With the game in doubt, Etchell, anxious to spare Cambridge City a wasted journey, called in a local referee for an inspection at noon, and he gave the go-ahead.

But when Mr Artis looked at the pitch 45 minutes before the scheduled kick-off, the glass glinted in the glare of the floodlights.

A volunteer force tried to clear it. But soon after the Cambridge players and officials arrived, Mr Artis called together the two club secretaries and managers and it was agreed that with a risk of serious injury to players, the game could not go ahead.

The replay is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, with the successful side away to the winners of the Histon-Gravesend and Northfleet clash. Their tie was postponed for the second time on Tuesday, because the pitch was again unfit, and it has also been re-arranged for next Tuesday.

An immediate worry for Hendon is that they are due to entertain Aldershot in the Isthmian League Cup second round tonight and a massive operation is needed to clear the pitch of the glass and ensure that it has not penetrated the playing surface.

Hendon are also at home on Saturday, when Braintree are the visitors for a league match.

The Trophy draw has handed Barnet a great opportunity to avenge their recent 3-0 Conference defeat at Scarborough when the two clubs clash at Underhill.

After their nightmare experience with a frozen surface at Seamer Road in their final game of last year, the Bees will be relieved that they will be at home on Saturday, February 2.

Bees boss John Still said: "The pitch was terrible when we played at Scarborough, and we'll be far happier playing at Underhill. We must have a good chance of beating them this time."

January 16, 2002 18:18



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