FRUSTRATED Vale of Leithen manager Chris Anderson hit out after his cup tie with Upper Annandale was postponed just an hour before kick off.

Victoria Park passed a morning inspection ahead of the South Challenge Cup clash.

But referee Craig Ferguson claimed sections of the pitch were too soft for the game to go ahead after arriving at the ground.

The decision left both clubs deeply out of pocket.

Anderson said: “I am perplexed to why the referee has made this decision.

“If Victoria Park is considered too soft for playing a game of football today I doubt if we will have any matches this winter.

“I have played many times on pitches much worse than what Victoria Park is today without giving it a second thought.

“Both myself and the Upper Annandale manager believe the ground is fine and we both want the game to go ahead, but we can’t without a referee.”

The South Challenge Cup is the only competition that involves all Lowland League, South of Scotland and East of Scotland clubs.

Heavy rain throughout the week had led to concerns over waterlogging and Whitehill Welfare’s ground around 20 miles away in Rosewell had already failed a pitch inspection.

But Vale officials walked the park at 9am on Saturday and believed it was playable.

Anderson added: “The pitch was checked in the morning and it was fine – there hadn’t been any more rain during the morning and if anything the pitch had dried out even more.

“The referee believed that 85 per cent of the pitch was fine but the corner areas were soft and could be considered dangerous.”

Moffat-based Upper Annandale had splashed out around £500 to bring a team coach to Innerleithen for the second round match.

Vale of Leithen had also spent more than £100 on hospitality catering as well as having programmes printed.

Victoria Park officials also had to pay referee Ferguson and his assistants, Brent Falconer and Jamie Reckie, half of their match fees as well as travelling expenses – totalling around £100.

Supporters turning up at Victoria Park were turned away at the gate.

Vale chairman Stuart Robertson said: “I never thought for a moment that the pitch was unplayable.

“I was as shocked as anyone when the referee came in and said the game wasn’t going ahead.”

A date for the replay has yet to be confirmed.