DON'T shoot the messenger. That was the line emanating loud and clear from the Fraser Eagle Stadium after furious Brentford lambasted Saturday's last-ditch washout decision.
The match referee’s final verdict at 1.30pm was that a playing surface which had absorbed no extra water since early morning would be 'unsafe' for play.
But if the decision averted potentially farcical scenes on the pitch, it provoked high drama off it.
The visitors, who travelled 250 miles from west London after receiving repeat assurances the match was set fair, claimed the game should have been abandoned well before they headed north.
This was after three messages had appeared on the Stanley website on Friday and Saturday morning suggesting the game was on.
But the Reds hit back - pointing out that a Football League ref had given the surface the all-clear at 10am on Saturday, after which no rain had fallen and the pitch had actually marginally improved.
Stanley believe the match was called off due to a boggy goalmouth, but believe it could have gone ahead, especially after putting up with similar conditions in slipping to defeat at both Stockport and Peterborough.
Stanley will not face a home game now until 2 February, and chief executive Rob Heys has confirmed the pitch will undergo "remedial" work in the next few days.
Brentford boss Andy Scott told the club’s website: "We have around 900 fans who have travelled all this way and then it is called off. It’s a farce. There was no rain in the last 24 hours but it is still that bad. A decision should have been made on Friday."
One fan’s angry email to the Reds claimed the sequence of events was "disgraceful", and implied the former non-leaguers had taken an amateurish approach.
Stanley boss John Coleman said he was sympathetic towards travelling fans, but described the Brentford reaction as "nonsense".
He said: "We take exception to some of the comments made by Brentford that it was clearly not playable. I was there at one o’clock and never thought for one minute it would be called off. It’s a load of nonsense. I’m disappointed with their reaction, but it's gone now."
Coleman added: "I’ve very much got sympathy for the Brentford fans and can understand their reaction, but I don’t think it should be vented at us."
Due to the FA Cup, neither club had a match scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday), but the prospect of trying again this weekend was scuppered by the Bees' pre-arranged holiday to Spain.
League rules also require at least one week's notice.
Stanley should avoid a major fixture pile-up having played more games than many of their divisional rivals, but will now have had a fortnight to stew on the 8-2 London Road horror show before next week’s trip to Darlington.