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Dungannon's Darren Murphy insists ref's call not swift enough

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Out in the cold: Glenavon star Rhys Marshall points to the frozen Mourneview Park pitch, which led referee Tim Marshall to postpone the clash against Dungannon Swifts

Out in the cold: Glenavon star Rhys Marshall points to the frozen Mourneview Park pitch, which led referee Tim Marshall to postpone the clash against Dungannon Swifts

Pacemaker Press

Out in the cold: Glenavon star Rhys Marshall points to the frozen Mourneview Park pitch, which led referee Tim Marshall to postpone the clash against Dungannon Swifts

Dungannon Swifts manager Darren Murphy spoke of his frustration after last night's Mid-Ulster derby at Glenavon was called off - at barely an hour's notice.

Referee Tim Marshall ruled the game could not go ahead, even though the Mourneview Park pitch had passed an inspection earlier in the day.

It left fans infuriated, with some having travelled to the ground only to learn the match was postponed.

Murphy said he accepted the pitch was unplayable, but questioned why the decision had not been made earlier.

"I think in the end he made the right call. It just should have been made earlier in the day," he said.

The referee had okayed the pitch at 3.30pm.

However, parts of the surface were frozen when he made another check at around 6.30pm, prompting him to call the game off.

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Murphy added: "I would question why the pitch was deemed playable at 3.30pm, yet by 6.30pm it wasn't playable.

"It wasn't as if it was getting any warmer outside.

"It was a difficult situation for the referee, who has done what he thinks is best for the players, and as a manager I have to respect that decision."

The clubs had opted to play their game last night, rather than the scheduled New Year's Day date.

The fixture has now been rearranged for next Tuesday night, January 6.

Many fans were far from happy at the late call-off, taking to social media website Twitter to voice their displeasure.

One wrote: "Called off this late after a 3pm check. What a joke!! Just drove 40 miles!"

Another fan was "absolutely gutted" after travelling 75 miles to Mourneview.

And another branded it "a disgrace" while a fourth said: "Will the ref refund my petrol from his match fee? Checked the website earlier and the game was on, drove across and the game is off. Disgraceful."

Glenavon apologised for the late postponement in a short message posted on their official website.

The message read: "Match referee Tim Marshall has called tonight's game off despite the pitch passing an inspection earlier this afternoon. Apologies for the late notice."

Dungannon host Cliftonville this weekend while Glenavon face Ballymena.

Before that, however, a host of games are due to take place tomorrow afternoon.

Portadown will hope to keep in the title chase as they travel to Coleraine, league leaders Linfield have an opportunity to extend their advantage at the top as they face second-placed Crusaders at Seaview, Glentoran host Institute and basement club Warrenpoint will attempt to kick off 2015 in style by boosting their survival hopes against visitors Ballymena United.

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