Halifax AFL: Abandoned game must be replayed

James Goodwin for Shelf United in the game against Red Star which was abandoned
James Goodwin for Shelf United in the game against Red Star which was abandoned

The management committee of the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL decided last night that the abandoned Premier Division game between Shelf United and Hebden Royd Red Star should be played again.

The contest at Lightcliffe Academy on March 9 was called off after about 70 minutes for what was said at the time to be crowd trouble.

Title contenders Shelf United were 1-0 up at the interval but had to face the elements in the second half and had slipped 2-1 down before controversy leading to the abandonment.

It is believed that Shelf won a corner and the referee failed to see Red Star player James Speechley handle the ball on the line. Shelf claimed the ball had subsequently crossed the goal line while Star insisted it had not.

Play was allowed to continue while Shelf players remonstrated with the referee and Star made it 3-1, prompting criticism of the official from 20 or so Shelf supporters. The referee then abandoned the match, apparently saying he feared for his safety.

A referee’s report was received and the West Riding County FA was involved in the subsequent enquiry, which was concluded last night.

The outcome will be a disappointment to Star, who had hoped to be awarded the points, and a boost to Shelf’s hopes of becoming champions.

John Lister’s side beat leaders Sowerby Bridge 3-0 at Lightcliffe Academy on Saturday and have dropped fewer points than anyone in the Premier.

After last night’s decision, Shelf still have seven league games left. Re-arranging the Star fixture will be tricky with both teams also involved in different cup finals.