THE general mood at the JobServe Community Stadium matched that of the weather at just gone 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon - pretty miserable.

The disappointment of everyone was clear for all to see in the aftermath of Colchester United's game against Rochdale being called off because of a waterlogged pitch, less than half an hour before kick-off.

The huge frustration felt around the stadium was completely understandable.

After all, the U's had endured a six-week wait for a home league match, while their opponents and their fans had made a four-hour-plus trip down from Greater Manchester, in testing conditions.

It was unfortunate all round.

But the criticism levelled at the club from some in the wake of the postponement seems harsh.

In truth, such a large amount of rainfall in such a short space of time is difficult to legislate for.



Attempts were made to make the pitch playable and a lot of hard work went into trying to clear the pitch of water, in order to make it safe for the players.

Both managers were keen to play and both clubs wanted the game on.

But taking into account the forecast of more rain to come, referee Craig Hicks took the difficult decision to postpone the match.

The Surrey official did try his best to give the pitch a chance to recover in time.

"Everyone here today wanted to play a game of football," he said, after the game was postponed.

As frustrating as it was, these things sometimes happen in football.

Colchester experienced a similar scenario last season, when they made the trip up to Salford for a Tuesday night game only for it to be called off around an hour and a half before the scheduled kick-off time, due to a waterlogged pitch.

Spare a thought for Hayden Mullins and his team, who were itching to get back to action in front of their home fans after so long away and after three successive away defeats.


“I think the most disappointing thing is for the players," said Mullins.

“You prepare and you look forward to the game and get ready to go and then all of a sudden, it’s like someone pops your bubble with a pin, because you want to get out there.

“We’re used to last-minute call-offs and I think the bigger disappointment has got to come from them.

“They’ve got to go all the way back up to Rochdale and come back here on a midweek night at some point within a congested fixture list, as have we.

“It’s disappointing but hopefully, we’ll have a run of home games now and we can look forward to that and get a few home games together in a row, which will really help."

In truth, the last thing the U's needed, after the disappointment of having their season disrupted, was another call-off.

And off the field, it was another blow for Colchester in these testing times.

It came just a fortnight after the damaging postponement of their Boxing Day home clash with Leyton Orient and the third successive home game to be called off.

On the field, it is disruptive and unhelpful; off the field, it is pretty devastating.

The loss of revenue after such a postponement is considerable, given all of the costs that go into an average match at the JobServe Community Stadium with regard to areas such as stewarding, catering and general matchday expenditure.

On the back of games being played behind-closed-doors last season, it's financially crippling for a League Two club in these circumstances.

With Colchester currently lying three points from the League Two relegation zone, albeit with games in hand, there's naturally a stick for some to beat the club with at the moment - but this unfortunate postponement should not be another one.