‘My team was stripped of victory by 96th minute abandonment – it’s madness’

The manager of a side denied three points by a 96th minute abandonment has branded the situation “madness”.

Buxton were leading 2-1 at Scunthorpe in National League North on Saturday when Glandford Park was blasted by a heavy thunderstorm in the closing stages. With standing water on the pitch and lakes forming around the ground, the referee took the decision to curtail the game more than halfway through the intended 10 minutes of added time. It was initially indicated that it was full-time and therefore a result.

Buxton celebrated wildly with their travelling fans while both clubs posted the ‘result’ on their social media channels. However, it then emerged that the match had in fact been abandoned by the referee.

The National League has since confirmed that the fixture will have to be replayed in its entirety. The news has understandably left Buxton feeling aggrieved, with manager Craig Elliott calling for a rule change to avoid such farcical scenes in the future.

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“The referee, very quickly, spoke to his lineman before blowing the final whistle. He then just ran down the tunnel,” Elliott told Daily Star Sport. “I said, ‘Have you blown for full-time?’ and he said ‘Yes’, then he ran down the tunnel and never talked to me again. It was a bit crazy. There were still fans in the stadium 15 minutes afterwards.

“We were celebrating with the fans and the Scunthorpe players didn’t have a clue what was going off. I tried to speak to him [the referee] but he just shut the door on me. That’s the biggest disappointment. He could have easily brought both managers in and said what was happening, but nobody knew.

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“He could have given it time, because it stopped raining 15 minutes later, to try and finish the game. Also, some of that injury time was from when the game was stopped for their fans throwing bottles at our keeper, twice. So you feel doubly punished by it all.

“You’d just hope common sense would prevail in terms of the league making the right decision, but it’s just extremely disappointing.”

Elliott and his players only learned about the abandonment decision when it was announced over the public address system.

“I was outside 15 minutes later and it came over the Tannoy that the game had been abandoned because, like I say, the referee shut his door in my face,” he added.

“I just wanted to speak to him so I knew what to say to my players. I genuinely thought, because we’d played 90 minutes, that common sense would kick in. It’s just madness.”

Elliott said the Bucks were looking into a possible appeal. He said: “There were things that happened that were out of our control so we are looking to appeal. Whether that gets us anywhere, I don’t know. We’ll feeling hard done by.

“Ultimately, there’s got to be a rule change because it can’t happen like this in the future. There’s the fans as well who paid a lot of money to travel to Scunthorpe. To be asked to do that again, when it will probably be a midweek game, is just ridiculous.”

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