Braintree's postponed U's fixture will now be played on Tuesday

Braintree and Witham Times: A waterlogged Amlin Stadium pitch has sunk Braintree's hopes of playing their New Year's Day fixture against Cambridge United. Picture: NIGEL BROWN A waterlogged Amlin Stadium pitch has sunk Braintree's hopes of playing their New Year's Day fixture against Cambridge United. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Braintree Town will now play Cambridge United on Tuesday following the postponement of their New Year’s Day fixture at the Amlin Stadium.

Despite hard work by the Iron’s ground staff, there were patches of water on the Cressing Road pitch earlier today and a referee decided the Skrill Premier game could not go ahead.

Chairman Lee Harding confirmed that the game will now be played on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm).

He said: “We had a fair amount of rain – certainly more than was forecast – and even though there was a lot of hard work put in, a referee said there was no way the game could go on.

“We’ve had about three or four inches of rain over the last few days and with the Jetstream positioned where it is, there seems to be depression after depression after depression at the moment.

“Essex is supposed to be one of the driest counties in the country, but with London clay under our area of Braintree and water just standing on top of it, there’s little we can do.

“Cambridge proposed that the game could be played on Tuesday and we were happy to facilitate that.

“They don’t have a game on Saturday because Grimsby are involved in the FA Cup and then their game against Alfreton is off the week after because they are in the FA Trophy, so they would be falling behind in the number of games played.

“If Luton had got games on all those dates, they could be seven or eight points clear at the top and even though Cambridge would have three games in hand, it’s not the same as having points on the board so they were keen to get it played.

“We’re also happy to do that because we can use the same programmes and the beer that has been bought for the clubhouse can be used and it won’t have gone out of date.

“It makes sense and we are quite relaxed about it all.”

Having faced similar problems last year with waterlogged pitches causing games to be called off, Braintree spent more than £15,000 on having the Amlin Stadium drainage improved last summer.

Harding said that it had helped get water off the pitch, but the problem remained that the area surrounding the stadium was waterlogged and had even caused water to back-flood on to the parts it had drained from.

He added: “We spent tens of thousands of pounds on the drainage over the summer and it has been working well, but the area where the water drains to is saturated.

“When you are digging holes in the pitch to try to drain it quicker and water is coming up through those holes, you know you are up against it.

“I’ve seen people saying why haven’t we covered the goalmouths with plastic sheeting, but the water just runs off that and still gathers around the pitch.

“We’ve also found that keeping the pitch uncovered is the best way to deal with it as it gives a chance for any wind to move the water around and dry the surface.

“We’ve seen the water coming out of the drainage system is fast flowing, but where it is trying to go to is saturated.

“It just underlines the need for us to get to the new stadium.”

See this week’s Braintree and Witham Times for more on the call-off and the story of the full financial implications of Wednesday’s postponement.

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