U's fans' efforts are in vain

COLCHESTER United are still in the League One play-off zone, despite last night's late postponement of their home clash with Scunthorpe.The U's tried desperately to beat the wintry weather, with about 150 fans turning up at the ground to shovel the snow off the Layer Road pitch.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United are still in the League One play-off zone, despite last night's late postponement of their home clash with Scunthorpe.

The U's tried desperately to beat the wintry weather, with about 150 fans turning up at the ground to shovel the snow off the Layer Road pitch.

But referee Steve Dorr eventually called off the match at 6.15pm, 90 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time, after a third pitch inspection.


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United had begun the day in sixth spot, the final play-off berth, and so were in danger of slipping out of the top six.

However, seventh-placed Chester-field failed to leapfrog Phil Parkinson's men, after being held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Swindon Town at Saltergate.

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That draw means the Spireites now have the same number of points (37) as the U's, but they have an inferior goal difference.

Another good result to go Colchester's way last night was third-placed Huddersfield's 3-0 loss at home to Port Vale. The Terriers would have risen to top spot with a win.

In fact, the only disappointing result, with regards to Colchester, was Southend's 2-1 triumph at Hartlepool, which lifted them into fourth.

Meanwhile, U's boss Parkinson had no qualms with referee Mr Dorr's decision to call off last night's Layer Road fixture against Scunthorpe.

In fact, Parkinson had nothing but praise for the 150 or so U's fans who lent a hand in clearing the snow off the pitch during the afternoon.

“Of course we are disappointed that the match was called off, because the lads were itching to get back into action, and winning ways, after the 1-0 defeat at Swindon,” revealed Parkinson last night.

“But I have no complaints with the decision. A local referee came down in the morning, and because the pitch underneath the snow was quite soft, he wasn't in a position to call the game off.

“The match referee turned up at 4.30pm, and he gave it every chance to keep the game on.

“I'd like to say a big thank you to the many Colchester supporters who helped to clear the pitch of snow. It just goes to prove what this club means to so many people in the town. I doubt whether many other clubs would get such a terrific response from their supporters.

“We tried everything in our power, but the referee had a final inspection at 6.15pm, when it was decided that it would be too dangerous for the game to go ahead.

“Some of the snow and ice left on the pitch would probably have frozen during the evening, so on reflection I think it was the right decision.

“All the fans who helped were in excellent spirits, and we are just disappointed that we could not reward all their hard work with a game to watch, and hopefully three points,” added Parkinson.

The U's now turn their attention to a trip to league leaders Brentford on New Year's Day.

The Bees match at Doncaster Rovers was another of last night's fixtures to fall foul to the wintry weather.

Of the U's other chief promotion rivals, the games involving Swansea City, Barnsley, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth were also postponed.

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