Sunderland boss Jack Ross opens up on pre-match discussions ahead of abandoned Accrington fixture and referee decision

Sunderland's game at Accrington Stanley was abandoned 20 minutes from full time.
Sunderland's game at Accrington Stanley was abandoned 20 minutes from full time.
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Jack Ross believes referee Oliver Langford did as much as he could in 'difficult circumstances' after Sunderland's game was abandoned 20 minutes from time.

The score was level at the Wham Stadium after Chris Maguire's opener was cancelled out by sub Connor Hall before Langford took the decision to abandon the game in the 73rd minute.

There had been heavy rain in the days leading up to the game at Accrington and the pitch looked heavy when the gates opened a couple of hours before kick-off.

Heavy rain continued to fall but the decision was taken to start the game, with the rain easing at 3pm.

The match official had looked at the pitch on the morning and then again before kick-off and was happy for the game to get underway.

The problem came in the second half when heavy rain from half-time onwards raised concerns over player safety.

Ross confirmed he spoke to the referee before kick-off and the official had some concerns but all parties were happy for the game to start.

"In fairness to the referee, he spoke to myself and John [Coleman] when I arrived [at the stadium]," said Ross.

"He had some concerns over it but what I would say is that the pitch is actually good and in the main it played okay in the conditions.

"This side [nearest the main stand] in particular was a concern, that was my concern during the warm-up. It wasn't ideal and the players stayed off it but then that isn't how it is going to go in the game.

"The match official did as much as he could in difficult circumstances, it was not easy for him."

The match was fast becoming a farce midway through the second half, frenetic but with players unable to make any kind of judgement on how the ball would break. Player safety was clearly becoming an issue.

Ross said there was never any desire from his squad for the game to be called off prior to kick-off, with the players keen to play despite it adding another game to the congested fixture list.

Ross added: "When you are in the here and now, it is about this game now. We have another game to squeeze in.

"I wanted to play the game, the squad wanted to play the game, we were enjoying the challenge of it.

"In the changing room there was no talk of wanting the game off. You just want the game to be played in as good a conditions as possible.

"Now it has been abandoned we will have to squeeze it in somewhere.

"Both teams tired to play, there were large elements that didn't come off."

He added: "There was that element of farce about the closing period.

"Their equaliser, Jack Baldwin goes to clear it on the half volley and the ball dies underneath his foot. There was things happen after that but that was a consequence of the conditions," added Ross, who joked with would be considered 'light drizzle' in Scotland.