Fourth time didn’t prove the charm for Dumbarton and Stirling Albion as their long-awaited match fell victim to the weather shortly before kick-off on Tuesday.
The clash has already proved controversial, with a pair of recent last-gasp call-offs when many Binos fans – as well as the players – had already arrived at the stadium, provoking anger and frustration amongst the travelling contingent.
Tuesday night finally looked like it might be the one, but a torrential downpour in the space of a couple of hours on the beleaguered Rock playing surface put the match in doubt as the sides came out for the warm up.
Referee Greg Soutar – the official who called off the previous meetings – then appeared shortly afterwards and put the pitch through an inspection before confirming the postponement shortly after 7.20pm. The call-off came with a healthy contingent of Stirling fans already in the ground, with the travelling support showering the announcement of the decision with boos.
Stirling fans were issued with tickets for the return fixture or refunds, with many complaining online about being made to wait outside in the freezing rain.
On social media, the Binos support were furious at yet another call-off, including Heather Suttie, whose 81-yearold dad took four trains from Coatbridge to be at the game.
She wrote shortly before 8.45pm: “Very late call and inconsiderate to many who travelled a good distance. Disappointing and dad still not home yet.”
Alastair Shand said: “Saw this coming a mile away with torrential rain forecast. Doesn’t make it any less annoying though. Fans need to be let in for free when it eventually gets played.” Ted Morgan added: “It was clear the game was never going ahead as soon as you got in the ground.
“Appreciate giving it a chance but this could have been called off much earlier, again.”
Paul Mellor said: “Fourth time this has happened and now only 20 minutes before kick-off. Players are part-time and the fans who have travelled, very poor.”
And Ian Beattie wrote: “I arrived about 7.20pm, paid my £10 to enter, and heard a few minutes later the game was off.”
Frustrated Stirling Albion manager Darren Young labelled Tuesday’s postponement a “shambles” and said his preparations for Saturday’s trip to Stenhousemuir had been scuppered with no training session possible after the decision.
The Albion gaffer said: “We got there at 5.15pm and the pitch was fine at that point but it just got worse and worse and I just thought ‘surely not’ after the last couple of call-offs but it was the right decision in the end.
“For the pitch to be flooded after a couple of hours of rain is a bit ridiculous.
“It would have been good to get the game done and dusted because it’s dragging on now and it’s just a bit of a pain because it’s one days less training for us with no game either.
“We’ve got boys taking half days from their work and there’s no real prospect of dragging them all the way up to Stirling for a training session at that time.”
The match will now attempt to be played for the fifth time on Tuesday night at the Dumbarton Football Stadium with a 7.45pm kick-off.
First up though is a trip to local rivals Stenhousemuir at Ochilview tomorrow, where the Binos have the chance to move to within touching distance of the title.