Jewell and Mowbray agree over match abandonment
IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell and Middlesbrough counterpart Tony Mowbray both agreed that abandoning today’s game after 37 minutes was the right decision.
Both managers were present at two pre-match pitch inspections – 11.15am and 2pm – and both agreed that the game could go ahead.
However, the shaded area of the Portman Road playing surface – just in front of the dugouts – got harder and harder once the heated tent cover was removed around 1.30pm.
And with Ibrahima Sonko suffering suspected cracked ribs after an awkward fall, referee Dean Whitestone called a halt to proceedings.
It means that a crowd of 19,735 – 730 having made the five-hour trip from Middlesbrough – went away highly disappointed.
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With Daryl Murphy having hit the bar in the goalless start to the match, Jewell said: “Sonko has cracked a rib as he’s come down on the hard surface – and if the pitch hadn’t been in that condition it probably wouldn’t have happened.
“We were playing well and were the better side. The last thing you want is to lose any more players to injuries though.
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“You have to play in bad conditions at times, but when they become dangerous – as it was – it becomes a bit of a farce.
“I can understand the supporters’ frustrations, but as a football match it was becoming more and more of a lottery as every minute went by really.
“It’s a right anti-climax and I feel sorry for the supporters – both Ipswich and Middlesbrough, many of whom have come an awful long way.
“As I said though, one of our players has been injured due to the conditions and we didn’t need any more of that.
“It was horrible for the supporters, but I think probably the right decision was made.”
Mowbray said: “I think, in the end, it was probably the right decision. The bigger question would be was it right to start it?
“We got here at 11 and it looked lovely under that big hot air bubble they’ve got. We had another quick look when that bubble came off around 1.30pm and I had my concerns, but we were happy to play because we were here and the supporters were in the stadium.
“I think it was probably the right decision to start it too. It’s easy to say things here in hindsight, but as the sun went behind the stand and the pitch started to crisp up it got worse.
“What really highlighted it was the linesman having to run inside the pitch here on the
near side. It was becoming more and more difficult for him and the players on that side of the pitch.
“Big Sonko has damaged his ribs landing on a very hard surface. Was it the right decision? I think it probably was.”