Dulwich Hamlet manager Gavin Rose says their Ryman Division One South game at Leatherhead should not have been abandoned after a wall collapsed.
The Hamlet fans were celebrating Danny Carr’s second half strike when a wall behind the goal area at Fetcham Grove collapsed, sending the fans sprawling on to the pitch area.
While no-one was injured and the debris was cleared away, the referee decided to abandon the game on safety grounds with 12 minutes remaining and Hamlet leading 2-0.
However, Rose believes there were other factors that influenced the referee’s decision.
“I look on the incident with mixed emotions, first and foremost we’re relieved there were no injuries,” he said.
“From the referee’s point of view the safety of the players comes first, but there appeared to be no debris on the pitch and no danger.
“So I was disappointed with the opposition’s reaction, it was clear they wanted the game called off. Had the score been 2-0 in their favour then I think we would not be talking about an abandoned game.
“It is just gamesmanship, and it helped influence the ref.”
He added: “But the decision has been made, and we stand by it. If we have to go back and replay the game we will do that, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“Although if the League decide a replay is necessary, it would seem a little harsh bearing in mind we were 2-0 ahead with only 12 minutes to play.
“And the abandonment was Leatherhead’s responsibility. When we scored, our fans leant over the wall to celebrate with the players and the wall gave way, it should not be doing that, it is the club’s liability.”
Leatherhead manager Richard Brady said: “The game should be replayed. There is no way of knowing what would happen in the final 10 minutes or so, we could have gone on to win 3-2.
“I stayed in the dugout and whether our players got in the referee’s ear I don’t know, but at the end of the day it is the referee’s decision.”
He added: “The key to it all is that no-one was hurt, talk about points and abandonments becomes trivial really.
“If the wall had collapsed five seconds earlier when the players were celebrating with the fans, they could have been under the wall and we’d be talking about a tragedy.”
The matter is expected to be discussed in the Ryman League’s monthly meeting on Thursday.
The abandonment allowed leaders Maidstone to open a three-point lead, although they have now played a game more, while Dulwich remain second.
Hamlet face Kingstonian of the Ryman Premier Division last night (Tuesday) in the quarter-final of the League Cup, and they return to league action with a trip to Horsham.
Rose is without Josh Turner for up to two weeks, while Ethan Pinnock remains a long-term injury absentee.