GATESHEAD’S big night proved a damp squib – with last night’s televised FA Cup first round replay against Oxford United postponed.
Torrential rain in the hours leading up to kick-off left the International Stadium pitch waterlogged and unplayable, disappointing 2,000 ticket holders.
The tie is now likely to be played in a fortnight, with Monday, December 2 and Thursday, December 5 possible dates.
Gateshead hope BT Sport, who were due to screen the tie, will return for the rearranged match – with the Tynesiders and Oxford making £33,750 each in broadcast fees if the tie is televised.
Referee Paul Tierney called the match an hour before kick-off, with standing water in several areas.
Disappointed chairman Graham Wood said: “No pitch would have stood up to the deluge we endured over a prolonged period.
“It was hugely disappointing, but we will now have to get the job done next month and we obviously hope the BT Sport cameras are there again to broadcast the game.”
Manager Gary Mills believed the referee was left with no alternative but to postpone the tie.
“It’s devastating as we had worked very hard ahead of the tie, the pitch is fantastic and then the weather has done what it has done and ruined it for everyone,” said Mills, whose on-form side have lost just once in their last 10 matches.
“We’re gutted because we were looking forward to the game. You build yourself up for the occasion and it hasn’t happened but we will ready when the game is played.”
Tickets already purchased will be valid for the rearranged game, and Gateshead will have more advance tickets made available – they had an offer of £5 tickets in the run-up to last night.
Oxford only rescued a 2-2 draw in the first game at the Kassam Stadium thanks to a last-gasp Danny Rose strike, with Gateshead having led 2-0 thanks to goals from James Marwood and Jamie Chandler.
The eventual winners will be away to Wrexham in a second-round tie to be screened by BT Sport.