TOWN manager Mick Buxton watched his side dump Third Division rivals Chesterfield from the FA Cup - then insisted the second-round tie at Saltergate should never have taken place.
The match, watched by 8,609 and settled 1-0 in Town's favour by Dave Cowling's 22nd-minute goal, was one of only four second-round games to take place amid a big freeze.
Referee Derek Webb, from Sale, declared the pitch playable even though it was covered by a 2in carpet of snow and was rock hard beneath.
"No game should ever take place on a pitch like that," said Buxton, whose own playing career with Burnley and Halifax had been cut short by a twice-broken leg.
"Someone could easily have suffered a very nasty injury out there."
Given that the game did go ahead, Buxton was pleased with a performance which earned a third-round trip to either Carlisle or Bishop Auckland, whose game was postponed (the Cumbrians were to come through 1-0).
"It wasn't a day for stopping the ball and trying to play it," said Buxton, whose side had been beaten 1-0 at Chesterfield in a league match a month earlier. "I told them to whack the ball clear and then get after it.
"We showed pride and a terrific attitude."
Buxton, whose side had defeated Northern Premier League club Workington in round one, left out striker Terry Austin, who had gone on the transfer list the week before.
But he found a place for centre-back Keith Hanvey, who had been battling a groin strain but produced an assured display next to Dave Sutton.
Mark Lillis was a lively performer for Town, shooting against the bar after 14 minutes before bringing a great save from John Turner after 52.
Peter Fletcher, selected in place of Austin, also came close with a well-placed header, but it was Cowling who managed to beat Turner, taking advantage of his hesitancy to nod home from Malcolm Brown's cross.
Chesterfield's best chance came in the 73rd minute, when from John Stirk's free-kick, defender Bill Green thumped in a shot from close range, only to see goalkeeper Dick Taylor dive to bravely smother the ball.
Other than that, Town's safety-first tactics worked a treat, with Chesterfield's attacks soaked up quite comfortably.
The only negative for Town was the sending off two minutes from time of full-back David Burke, who aimed a kick at Phil Walker right under the referee's nose.
Burke, the second Town player to be dismissed that season after Phil Wilson, had only just returned from a three-match suspension for accumulating 20 penalty points.