09:28AM, Thursday 25 November 2021
A case of COVID-19 in the Magpies camp led to the postponement of Tuesday's trip to Southend United, while the club announced yesterday (Wednesday) that their home game with league leaders Chesterfield on Saturday also wouldn't be going ahead.
The club first raised the issue with the National League and Southend on Monday morning, and, with the risk of others in the squad becoming infected, the decision was taken to call off the match at Roots Hall.
The game has been rescheduled to take place on Tuesday, December 7, kick-off 7.45pm.
A revised date for the Chesterfield fixture is to be announced in due course. Tickets purchased for Saturday's match againstthe league leaders will be valid for the revised date once that's confirmed.
Supporters who wish to receive a refund can contact firstname.lastname@example.org via email.
The Magpies' Berks & Bucks Senior Cup tie at Ascot United on Tuesday, November 30 has also now been postponed with a new date to be confirmed in due course.
The Magpies saw many of their matches last season called off because of COVID incidents at other clubs, eventually leading to them having a backlog of fixtures towards the end of the season. However, this is the first time they've had to call off a game due to a case within their squad.
United would have been looking at the game at Southend as a chance to bounce back from successive league defeats against Dagenham & Redbridge and Boreham Wood.
Southend are one of a handful of clubs in a worse position than the Magpies this season having picked up only 11 points from 15 matches.
Chairman Peter Griffin said: “We were criticised for calling it off so late.
“We made the league aware on Monday morning and then had to make the league aware of test results.
“We’ve followed the Government guidelines that the National League want to follow, and we’ve followed them correctly.
“Because of the number of player contacts, while the number of cases is low there are several people having to isolate, whether they’re vaccinated or not. We’re following the protocol to the letter, and it’s the first time we’ve had a game called off during the pandemic that’s due to us.
“We’ve had games cancelled due to the other team. We have had cases over the period, six, seven or eight or something like that, but they’ve always been managed in a way that’s allowed us to play on.
“We’ve got to think of people’s safety, and we can’t be gung-ho about the rules. As everyone knows, if someone’s infected, you can do a test there and then but sometimes they then catch it five days later.
“We’re following the guidelines and our record has been exemplary in getting games on.
“We don’t want games called off. Especially home games on a Saturday when you expect to get a big crowd, but we have to follow safety guidelines first.”