Controversy in the FA Trophy

The FA Trophy tie between Altrincham Town and Colwyn Bay was abandoned in controversial style after an injury to the referee in the 83rd minute of the game.

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Altrincham were 2-0 up when the referee injured his calf, with only 7 minutes of normal time remaining, in a tie in which there was no designated fourth official. Altrincham Town put forward a fan, who was a level-five qualified referee, to run the line, allowing for the current linesman to act in as referee for the remainder of the game. Colwyn bay refused this offer, and as a consequence they may now have the chance to replay the game in full this coming week.

Altrincham’s chairman, Graham Rowley, was understandably annoyed with the decision, saying they should be awarded the win, whereas Frank Sinclair, Colwyn Bay’s manager, expects the game to be replayed in full.

The FA Trophy rules state that “When a first match has been postponed, or is abandoned before the completion of 90 minutes and neither club being at fault, it shall be played on the same ground on or before the following Thursday. Matches abandoned through the fault of the clubs shall be dealt with by the National Game Board.” Therefore, the assumptions of Colwyn bay that the match to be replayed in the coming days is understandable, but it is easy to see why Rowley and his team feel aggrieved, with it being very unlikely that they would not have progressed to the next round had there been no altercations. However, the Conference North side will now have to await the decision from the FA, as they decide whether they will be awarded the tie, play the final 7 minutes, or replay the match completely.

The FA trophy is primarily for semi-professional football teams and is a chance for non-league sides to have a day out at Wembley and get their hands on a famous football trophy of their own. James Walshaw and Greg Wilkinson had scored Altrincham’s two goals which looked like it would seal a victory in the third qualifying round. Whether this will still be the case is a decision eagerly awaited by both teams.

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