Football: Fire at Wycombe calls halt to Cup tie

A FIRE at Wycombe Wanderers' Adams Park ground forced the abandonment of the FA Cup first-round replay against non-League Oxford City just as extra time ended last night.

The ground had to be evacuated with the final score at 1-1 and the players poised for a penalty shoot-out when fire alarms started to ring at the back of a stand housing the Oxford supporters. Fire engines were called and stewards ejected everyone from the ground, moments after Oxford won the toss for the shoot-out. The players were happy to wait until the problem was fixed and then return to the pitch to settle the shoot-out, but the referee, Paul Danson, refused their request.

Wycombe's chairman, Ivor Beeks, said: "A small possible fire was found in two transformers by the fire brigade, who dealt with the situation. As to what happens from here, I do not know. Technically the game is abandoned. Where and when it is replayed I do not know."

The Football Association must clarify whether the whole match is to be replayed, or whether a penalty shoot-out can settle the issue.

Oxford City's chairman, Mick Woodley, said he was "gutted" by the decision to abandon the match after his side had held their Nationwide League Second Division opponents over 210 minutes of football. Woodley said: "We were just about to take the penalties and then an announcement comes over the Tannoy to say that we can't take the penalties because of an electrical fault."

Oxford chose to play the replay at Adams Park after drawing 1-1 at the same ground 10 days ago. Asked whether City would play at their own ground should they win through to face Wigan in the second round, Woodley said they would want to. "I think we'd better play it on the local parks pitch we played on nine years ago - we wouldn't get electrical faults there."