Following Tuesday night’s postponed Vanarama National League fixture and after a lot of inaccurate information and speculation has appeared on social media, the club feel it is appropriate they offer a full and transparent explanation to supporters of both AFC Fylde and Notts County FC.

Following the previous postponement of the fixture and the perceived lack of communication, AFC Fylde put internal procedures in place to make sure everyone was updated at all opportunities.

Due to the severe and unpredictable weather the UK has experienced in recent days, the club placed covers over the most affected areas of the Mill Farm pitch. Plans were made internally to ensure the game had the best possible chance of going ahead.

At 15:00 on Monday 24th February, these plans were communicated to fans through, social media, Notts County Football Club and included placing a local referee on standby to inspect the pitch on Tuesday morning.

AFC Fylde further communicated to all parties that it would aim to have a final and confirmed decision by 13:00 on the day of the match, prior to supporters making the journey.

The statement can be found here.

Overnight on Monday 24th, covers remained on the pitch with more rainfall expected across the country.

On the morning of the game, Tuesday 25th, the club’s ground staff arrived at Mill Farm at 05:00 to ensure all areas of the pitch were given the best possible opportunity of being playable. The weather outlook was positive, so the club proceeded with its plans to consult the match officials.

Christopher Porter, the fourth official, kindly agreed to attend Mill Farm at 12:00 and inspect the pitch. A thorough and detailed inspection was undertaken, with the covers removed from the pitch to test all areas.

AFC Fylde were informed in good faith that the match was playable following inspection and swiftly communicated this to Notts County Football Club and its supporters.

AFC Fylde’s Chief Executive, Jonty Castle and Notts County’s Chief Executive, Jason Turner remained in constant contact with one another throughout the day.

The match referee, Stephen Copeland arrived at Mill Farm at 15:00 and conducted a second inspection and it was agreed that the pitch was still playable at that stage. At his request, the covers were removed from the pitch at 17:30. Following the removal of the covers, a large downpour occurred causing one area of the pitch to become excessively soggy.

With kick-off edging closer and fans arriving, the match officials, both managers and Chief Executives together with the match assessor held a meeting to discuss the situation.

Despite the willingness of all AFC Fylde staff and in particular manager Jim Bentley to play the match, the match officials were uncomfortable with the conditions and the safety of the players and as such, the decision was made to postpone the fixture.

This decision was communicated to fans at 18:50. AFC Fylde wholeheartedly accept the frustration surrounding the decision.

The club is currently in discussions with Notts County Football Club regarding a new date for the fixture and will update supporters at the earliest available opportunity.

Notts County Manager Neal Ardley gave the following comments after the match.

When asked if Notts County had any complaints with the way AFC Fylde had handled the situation, Ardley said: “No, I don’t think so.”

He continued: “There were a few questions last month when it was postponed, but this time around there’s not much you can say. They have had a pitch inspection.

The fourth official checked it earlier in the day and it was fine. But there was a deluge of rain this afternoon that has softened the area and turned the sand into mush.”

Jim Bentley’s reaction to the postponement can be viewed below.