Sunderland's clash at Accrington is ABANDONED with 20 minutes to play amid horrendous conditions
Sunderland's League One clash with Accrington Stanley was abandoned with just 20 mintues left to play in the game.
The scores were level at 1-1 before referee Oliver Langford took the players from the pitch.
The match was fast becoming a farce, frenetic but with players unable to make any kind of judgement on how the ball would break.
Player safety was clearly becoming an issue.
There had been significant doubt in the build up as to whether the game would go ahead at all.
Though Langford had deemed the pitch playable midway through the morning, sustained rain in the early afternoon took a visible toll on the Wham Stadium surface.
Areas of the pitch became heavy and inspections were held before the decision was taken to play.
Within moments it was clear that it would not be an afternoon where the Black Cats, or their opponents for that matter, would be able to play the kind of expansive game that marked Sunderland's last league win over Barnsley.
The bounce of the ball was unpredictable, occasionally flying into touch and occasionally stopping stone dead in the mud.
The quality of the football was significantly affected, though both sides did carve out opportunities in the first half.
Jack Ross lost Adam Matthews to injury early on, but almost saw his side take the lead when Josh Maja superbly broke free down the right.
His cross to the far post was good, Aiden McGeady taking a touch before unleashing a clean volley that flew just over the bar.
Lynden Gooch had an effort of his own after more promising build-up down the left, McGeady again influential in Sunderland's attacking play.
But Gooch could only shoot over on his weaker foot and Accrington Stanley responded with a sustanied spell of pressure towards the second half.
Ross Sykes had a great opening when he escaped the attention of his marker from a deep free-kick, but the connection with his header was poor and the chance drifted wide.
A flowing Accrington break saw the ball drop to Sam Finley on the edge of the area soon after. Jon Mclaughlin was off his line but the effort dropped onto the roof of the net.
Jordan Clark fired over from the edge of the area shortly after, with Sunderland pished back.
The visitors did force a save from Connor Ripley just before the break, a low free-kick from substitute Bryan Oviedo heading for the bottom corner before the Middlesbrough loanee got down to gather.
Ross made a slight alteration at the beginning of the half, moving Gooch out of midfield onto the right flank.
That increased Sunderland's threat on the break and the game began to swing from end to end, though neither side were able to to carve out any clear openings.
When the first goal came, it was one in keeping with a slightly surreal game.
Chris Maguire pressed Ripley and blocked his attempted clearance, the ball rolling into the empty net.
Ripley and Accrington were adamant that a handball had been committed but the referee allowed the goal to stand.
Sunderland's lead lasted just minutes, the rain returning to create horrendous conditions.
The hosts broke down the right and McLaughlin was unable to gather the cross. The loose ball bounced around the box but Sunderland were unable to clear, substitute Connor Hall turning the ball home.
Both sides went close to taking the lead, McLaughlin doing superbly to save before an effort from Maguire clipped the bar.
But as the rain continued to hammer down, Langford took the players from the pitch.
The game will be replayed at a later date.
Sunderland XI: McLaughlin; Matthews (Oviedo, 17), Flanagan, Baldwin, James; Honeyman, Power; Gooch, Maguire, McGeady; Maja (O'Nien, 61)
Subs: Ruiter, Loovens, Ozturk, McGeouch, Sinclair
Accrington Stanley XI: Ripley, Johnson, Hughes, Sykes, Anderton; Clark, Barlaser, Finley, McConville, Zanzala (Charman, 68) ; Kee (Hall, 45)
Subs: Maxted, Richards-Everton, Brown, Mingoia, Conneely
Bookings: Sykes, 49 Maguire, 49 McConville, 49 Finley, 64
Attendande: 5,257 (2,604 away)