Paul Harper claims that Tranmere Rovers are jinxed when it comes to replaying abandoned games.
Rovers can't recreate magic
When a match is abandoned, why is it that the rearranged game is never quite as good as the original?
With Tranmere this week, we played the rearranged Johnstone's Paints Trophy tie against Accrington. The original match was cut short due to the head injury sustained to Accrington's Tom Bender, who thankfully is well on the road to a full recovery and whose injury was not as bad as first feared.
It wasn't nice to see the young defender motionless on the ground in the penalty box that evening. He was down for over half an hour and fears of serious injury were quashed after tests were completed at the hospital. We wish Tom a speedy recovery and hope he's back playing soon.
That first game, up until the moment of the injury, was a superb game of football. Both sides passed the ball well, there were lots of chances and it was entertaining fare. Rovers led 2-1 having scored all three goals.
Second time around, and with high expectations of 'same again, lads', it simply wasn't to be. Granted, the conditions were much worse with a sodden playing surface after days of pouring rain which made it difficult for the players, but the game never got going. Both sets of players failed to keep control of the ball for any sustained period of time and chances were few and far between.
Thankfully for Rovers, we won 1-0 and made it through to the next round where Chesterfield await us. The dream of a trip to Wembley lives on.
It got me thinking about other matches I've seen after abandonment. I recall the game at Prenton Park against Mansfield, which had to be called off when there was a man who climbed up on the roof of the stand in 2003.
Rovers absolutely tore Mansfield to pieces for 45 minutes that afternoon before the abandonment. We played some fantastic football and then when the replay came, we still won the game but we didn't come close to the stylish performance on show in the original.
The one that always sticks in the minds of us Tranmere fans though is our trip to Swindon in the early nineties. Having not won there for what seems like eternity, our best chance was when we were 2-1 up at the County Ground. Then the floodlights went off. That was just typical of our luck. Rather suspiciously, they refused our offer of 50p for the meter (I may have made that last part up).
The rearranged fixture was played at a later date, and wouldn't you know it, Swindon hammered us! I've always been wary of rearranged games following an abandonment after that day.