FA Trophy: Farnborough no-show leaves the Puritans in limbo

It wasn't so much the Farnborough Air Show but more the Farnborough no-show at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Tuesday’s Buildbase FA Trophy clash between Banbury United and Farnborough was called off because the visitors failed to have enough players arrive for the second qualifying round replay.

Only six players arrived with, apparently, two more cars carrying players, stuck on the motorway.

Referee Dale Wootton gained dispensation to delay the kick-off to 8.45pm and start the game when a seventh Farnborough player arrived by train at Banbury station. He didn’t make it to the ground so the game was called off at 8.45pm.

Frustrated manager Mike Ford said: “It was obviously a very frustrating night for everyone at the club. We had a decent crowd in for the game so it’s just very disappointing.

“The players were ready for it and warmed-up well to go at 8.45pm when the referee knocked on the dressing door and informed us Farnborough only had six players.

“I’ve been in this game since 1982 and have never ever had the opposition not turn up. The officials, staff and fans got here from Farnborough but some of their players didn’t.

“It has a Sunday morning football feel to it, like the Red Lion v the Dog & Duck when players don’t turn up in time because they are still hung over from the night before. But this was an FA Trophy fixture, the final is at Wembley.

“I’ve never experienced this before, you sometimes get games called off through floodlight failure or when a player is seriously injured and the air ambulance has to attend. But not for one team not showing up.

“The FA has got a very big decision to make and it will be interesting to see whether they are still in this competition next week.”