Cup Final abandoned after thunderstorm
A late afternoon thunderstorm forced the FA Cup Final between Robin Hood and Southampton Rangers to be abandoned at the National Stadium yesterday.
Martin Wyer, the referee who was officiating in his first FA Cup Final, halted proceedings in the fifteenth minute with the game goalless after torrential downpours and severe lightning sent the players, coaching staff and match officials scurrying for shelter.
Not even spectators in the grandstand where spared from the onslaught as rain seeped through the roof, forcing them to seek shelter wherever possible.
In some cases both male and female spectators took refuge in the same bathroom, particularly on the lower level of the complex.
Both teams created chances during their brief stay on the pitch.
First Division side Rangers threatened first with Shannon Coddington-Brangman, the striker, lobbing over an empty net after a mix-up between Dale Eve, the goalkeeper, and defender John Barry Nusum, the Hood player-coach.
Hood responded with striker Antwan Russell, potentially playing his final game for the Premier Division side, dragging wide from an angle and then having the ball cleared off his boot right in front of goal after a good build-up between Chris Caisey, the midfielder, and Shakir Smith, the winger.
However, a game that was just starting to heat up came to a premature end after the adverse weather intervened, leaving both sets of teams to do it all over again in a replay tomorrow at 7pm, again at the National Stadium.
Nusum, who succeeded Kyle Lightbourne as Hood’s coach at the beginning of the season, accepted the decision to abandoned proceedings with a dash of salt.
“I understand [the abandonment] because of the lightning and the worst was still coming, but I felt we still could have played the game,” Nusum said.
“On the day you want to play the game but it is what it is and you can’t do anything about it and we come back again Tuesday.
“To be honest Rangers had a good spell in to the first ten minutes so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.”
Ezekiel Stoneham, the Rangers captain, took matters in stride.
“It’s a little unfortunate because we were just starting to get into our groove,” he said. “But at the same time that’s just the way it is and is something we cannot control. It is what it is and we are just going to have to adjust and come back out and finish the job if we can.”
Hood, the 2015-16 Cup winners and last season’s Premier Division champions, are appearing in the second FA Cup Final and Rangers, who lifted the prestigious showpiece during the 1983-84 campaign, in their fifth.
It is the first time that the two clubs have met in a domestic cup final.
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