New date arranged for Argyle's postponed away game against Newport
PLYMOUTH Argyle’s postponed away game against Newport County will not take place until Tuesday, April 8.
Rearranging a new date for the fixture at Rodney Parade, which was called off after a 12.30pm pitch inspection today because the pitch was waterlogged, was no simple task.
Newport have now had four home matches postponed since December 21 for the same reason, and are faced with a busy schedule over the coming weeks.
The fact they also share Rodney Parade with two rugby union teams – Newport RFC and Gwent Dragons – has exacerbated the problem.
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County and Argyle could have played the game next Tuesday, but Newport RFC have a home fixture against Aberavon on that evening.
The Football League encourage clubs to rearrange postponed fixtures as close as possible to the original date.
However, there were no free midweek dates for Newport to host Argyle until Tuesday, March 4 at the earliest.
That would have meant the Pilgrims playing three midweek matches out of four in March, which would have been a far from ideal scenario for them.
County have rearranged home games against AFC Wimbledon on February 11 and Oxford on February 18.
They suggested to Argyle playing on February 25, but the Pilgrims already have a fixture away to Fleetwood Town on that night.
Argyle and Newport are both in action on March 11, while County have a home game against Dagenham and Redbridge on March 19.
There is another round of midweek matches on March 25, when Argyle host Exeter City and Newport play Bury at Rodney Parade.
So all of that has led to April 8 being chosen as the date for the rearranged game.
The early postponement of tonight’s fixture saved the Pilgrims’ squad making a wasted trip to South Wales.
Match referee Keith Hill made his decision after further heavy rain fell overnight and in the morning.
Argyle had sold close to 700 tickets in advance of the fixture, even though supporters could pay at the ground.
Argyle chief executive Martyn Starnes told Herald Sport: “All the preparation for the team had been done and the players were disappointed about the postponement.
“We didn’t know until lunchtime the game was going to be off, which is certainly a lot better than not knowing until after you have arrived there.
“It’s still disappointing, though, because everybody wants to play. It means we have had to fit in the game later on in the season.
“The Football League like you to play these matches that have been postponed as soon after the original date as possible.
“But Newport have got the problem with other conflicting fixtures on their pitch. They did say about February 25, but we have got Fleetwood that day.”
Argyle have not had any games at Home Park postponed this season, despite all the wet weather this winter.
The pitch, which was laid in the summer of 2010, is still in excellent condition even six months into the season.
Starnes said: “The pitch drains exceptionally well and we have got a good group of people that are doing work on it.”