Clapton FC vs Walthamstow FC called off due to lack of pitch markings

Essex Senior League match between Clapton FC and Walthamstow FC is postponed due to insufficient pitch markings; Only one line was marked before individual apparently left to buy paint at B&Q before local running club arrived at venue

 A view of the white lines of the corner during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Burnley FC at Vicarage Road on January 19, 2019 in Watford, United Kingdom
Image: Tuesday's Essex Senior League match between Clapton FC and Walthamstow FC was called off after a bizarre chain of events

Two non-League football clubs are ready for action. The referee is present, but one thing is preventing the match going ahead – the pitch has no markings…

That was the case for the Essex Senior League match on Tuesday between Clapton FC and Walthamstow FC at Newham Leisure Centre, which was ultimately called off following a bizarre sequence of events.

Miles away from the bright lights of the Champions League, this is step 5 of the National League system - nine steps below the Premier League.

When the issue of no pitch markings was noticed by a Walthamstow club official, match officials promptly made clear the fixture, which had passed an earlier pitch inspection, would be postponed unless Clapton could paint some lines.

What followed is hard to believe, described by Walthamstow as "disgraceful events".

According to a Walthamstow club statement, they were initially met by a "hostile" and "aggressive" response to questions over the lack of pitch markings.

Eventually a man with a bag of white spray cans arrived at 7pm only for the individual to spray one line and promptly disappear.

The referee then queried where he had gone and was told by a Clapton official that he had gone to B&Q to buy more paint.

This led to further confusion, emphasised by around 50 people from the local running club starting their warm-up on the track around the pitch. The match was duly called off by the referee.

Walthamstow added in a statement: "We would like to believe the home side did everything in their power to get the game played, but the shambles last night leaves a sour taste in the mouth."

Supporters who travelled to support Walthamstow have been offered a free drink at their next game.

Clapton said: "A pitch inspection was done at about 3.00pm and deemed okay to play but subsequently, the pitch markings were not adequate due to further rain and so the match was called off."

Clapton added tickets bought for the match would be honoured for the re-arranged fixture.

Sky Sports News has contacted Clapton for a response.

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