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FOR FOG’S SAKE: Cooper and Kewell see red mist after wild weather causes match abandonment

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Forest Green boss Mark Cooper and Oldham Athletic counterpart  Harry Kewell were at loggerheads after fog caused a second-half abandonment of the match.

Cooper insisted referee Robert Lewis needn’t have ended the game in the 58th-minute as fog engulfed the ground, but Kewell felt the decision was a correct one. 

Rovers had earlier taken the lead through a deflected Nicky Cadden strike, but Oldham netted parity in first-half stoppage time through Zach Dearnley. However, the start of the second period was delayed for 40 minutes as fog thickened on an already snow-kissed surface.  

Referee Lewis opted to stop the game 13 minutes into the resumption of the game after an on-pitch pow-wow with Cooper and Latics boss  Kewell. 

“The referee didn’t want to play the game from the start to be honest and that’s his decision – good luck to him ,” said Cooper. 

 “I had given up listening to him by about  3pm onwards  and he just didn’t want to play the game.  We wanted to play -and you could see in our performance – we were outstanding and if we had been four-up  at half-time , nobody could have complained.” 

Kewell  took a different stance to Cooper and said: “You have to applaud the professionalism of both teams in difficult circumstances. 

“The ground staff had tried their very best, but there were areas of the pitch that were rock hard. 

“With the fog coming in it didn’t really help the situation. In the end the ball was going up in the air and no-one could see it. A player went down injured and no-one really saw that either. 

“The ref had to take into consideration the weather, the elements and I think he made the right decision. 

“The most important thing is the players’ safety and their health. 

“In the first half we weren’t really at it and made them look really good. There was nothing in that first forty minutes for me and I was kind of hoping the fog was going to come in. 

“It was good to get a little glimpse of what they are capable of doing. I think that was one of their best performances and definitely one of our worst and so we can only play better, so I’m looking forward to the challenge (the rearranged fixture).” 

A win would have seen Rovers leap to the summit after Newport’s game at Barrow was postponed, but Rovers dropped to third after Carlisle took advantage to reach the top-of-the-table. 

Earlier, Rovers took the lead on 20 minutes after Aaron Collins missed a chance to put his side ahead inside four minutes.   Cadden picked the pocket of  Dylan Fage to burst into the box and plant a rising driving beyond the hapless Lawlor. 

Rovers  had a 30th minute penalty appeal chalked off when Oldham captain Carl Piergianni clipped  Collins who arrived at speed in the box. 

As the fog descended, Oldham netted parity deep into  first-half stoppage-time –  Zach Dearnley picked his spot from the edge of the box beyond Luke McGee. 

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