Warrington could be charged by the Evo-Stik League for failing to fulfil a fixture after they refused to re-take the field against Darlington today for “health and safety reasons”.
Quakers played some excellent football to go 2-0 up with goals by Adam Mitchell and Amar Purewal but on 32 minutes referee Danny Markham went down in a heap, frantically blew his whistle several times, and waved to the Darlington physio for attention to a calf injury.
A PA system appeal was made for an active official to act as an assistant, and three volunteers came forward. However, Warrington objected to them on the grounds that none were independent and so Reid called his starting eleven back into the changing room.
Darlington officials and the match referee contacted the League, and were informed that the game could continue with two officials as per one of the rules.
After a further delay, Reid called his substitutes into the dressing room, and then announced that they were refusing to continue the game on health and safety grounds, claiming that his players could suffer an injury without another warm up if play was going to restart.
Even though Darlington boss Martin Gray tried to persuade him to change his mind, Reid, who refused to comment afterwards, was adamant. The game was therefore abandoned after a 35 minute delay to loud boos from the near 1,000 crowd.
Gray said: “I have never seen anything like it in all my years in football. Rules are rules, and Warrington could have continued with two officials. Three people volunteered to run the line, but Warrington turned them down because they said they weren’t independent.
“Shaun Reid said that they didn’t want to continue for health and safety reasons in case his players got injured, but we were happy to continue playing with two officials, because the league says matches can continue in that way.
“Maybe there’s a message for the league somewhere that they should have four officials, but obviously we’re not happy at all. We feel that we should be awarded the points.”
Feelings ran high after the game, and Reid was confronted by an angry supporter when he entered the club bar, and he was also escorted from the directors’ room.
“League spokesman Dave Watters said: “The league is unable to make a statement until the reports from the game have been received by all interested parties.”
Warrington could now find themselves answerable to a charge of failing to fulfil a fixture and also for failing to complete a game. They could also face a big fine, while Quakers will seek reimbursement for the costs of staging the match, which are around £1,000.
Any decision by the league is unlikely to be made quickly, and will probably mean that Darlington pair Stephen Thompson and Jordan Robinson will both be suspended for the local derby against Spennymoor on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the referee was injured and left the field in the Grantham v Blyth game, but the match still reached a conclusion after a 15 minute delay. A substitute official was found from the crowd.
Teams: Darlington Jameson, Brown, Galbraith, White, Hunter, Portas, Mitchell, Scott, Armstrong, Dowson, Purewal.
Subs not used: Fisher, Bell, Hatch, Hopson, Reed Warrington Willis, McCarten, Doughty, Parle, Hardwick, Robinson, Roberts, Corrigan, Wharton, Simm, Metcalfe.
Subs not used: Hickey, Mooney, Gahgan, Davies, Jones