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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Jack Lacey-Hatton

Chelsea vs Liverpool WSL clash abandoned after just five minutes

Chelsea's WSL clash with Liverpool was abandoned after just six minutes play at Kingsmeadow.

Boos rang out from all four stands, mainly directed at referee Paul Howard who made the decision that pitch was unplayable, after the decision was announced via the stadium PA with Emma Hayes then addressing the crowd.

A Chelsea statement, released via social media, said: "The referee has taken the decision to abandon today's game due to a frozen pitch. The club will provide a further announcement on the fixture in due course."

Within a few minutes of play it was clear both benches were concerned - and after a short stoppage both teams headed down the tunnel, following the decision.

Addressing the Kingsmeadow crowd Hayes said: "The decision to call it off at this moment is wrong for the timing, but right for the players."

The Chelsea boss then told the BBC : "You could see from the opening minutes that it was like an ice rink down the sides. Matt Beard was upset that it even got to that point and he's right.

"It's not for managers to decide if it is on. It's up to the FA and officials. We have to say to ourselves it's time for undersoil heating. We've got to take our game seriously. Yes we can have our blowers and pitch tents but it's not enough."

Emma Hayes and the assistants walk towards the tunnel after Chelsea v Liverpool is postponed (Getty Images)

The match had originally passed a preliminary pitch inspection that begun at 9.30am on Sunday morning. But the covers were still on some areas of the pitch as both teams took to the field for the warm-up.

And with players immediately looking slippery underfoot the game was called off by the referee after just six minutes of play. Howard spoke to both managers and the match manager on the touchline before instructing both teams to head down the tunnel.

The crowd were understandably angry, but the boos subsided once Hayes took to the microphone and explained the situation to the crowd. Liverpool manager Matt Beard said: "The pitch is frozen and I don't know why it took six minutes. It was frozen in the warm-up.

"You can clearly see it. I'm gutted for our fans. They've travelled down and it could have been postponed at 9.30am. It shouldn't have been played in the first place.

"They were going to give it a chance, so that was the explanation. It wasn't safe down there. There were patches in the centre and other areas. I guess where they had the heat, but for the majority of the pitch, it wasn't the case.

"Chelsea have done everything they can to try and get the game on. I'm surprised it kicked off at 12.30pm because we got told this morning that we can try and kick the game off at 2pm, but we've got the phone call to say that they game was back on at 12.30. I was a bit surprised. At the end of the day, the temperature was not going to change all day. It's only getting colder now."

Brighton's clash with Arsenal was also later postponed due to a frozen pitch, while Tottenham's game with Leicester had already been called off yesterday. Meanwhile, the FA later issued on a statement on the abandoned game at Kingsmeadow.

A Women’s Super League spokesman said: " We worked hard with the clubs and the match officials to safely play the Barclay’s Women’s Super League fixture between Chelsea and Liverpool as scheduled. Following inspections before the match, the pitch was deemed to be playable by the matchday referee.

"However, shortly after kick off, the referee made the decision to abandon the match in order to protect the safety of the players, which is paramount. We sincerely apologise to all fans who travelled to the match. The fixture will be rescheduled in due course."

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