FC CLACTON co-owner Stephen Andrews admits his side are fighting a losing battle in terms of their ongoing pitch problems at the Rush Green Bowl.

The club’s notorious playing surface means they are always susceptible to postponements, especially when the weather conspires against them.

They were recently left counting the cost after two successive home matches were called off, especially as both were eye-catching all-Essex affairs against Stanway Rovers and Coggeshall Town.

Andrews admits the predicament is an ongoing battle but says those working behind the scenes will never give up.

“We’ve spent thousands over the years, installing new drainage, spiking, deep-air irrigation and more,” he told the Gazette.

“There’s a constant maintenance programme and every summer we add in the region of 50 tonnes of premium top soil and specialist seed (at over £100 a bag).

“None of this comes cheap and, to be brutally honest, none will ever solve the problems we face by being located on a former landfill site.

“We’re fighting a losing battle but doing our best to put up a good fight.

“The problems with the pitch being on a former landfill are numerous.

“There’s still movement, with the ground sinking in places, and our floodlights lean at angles that are causing serious concern.

“In addition, despite many years of costly soil improvement works, it’s still clay-based - meaning it can be rock hard after an hour of sun and extremely wet after relatively little rain.” Andrews admitted it was a particular blow to lose the recent matches against Stanway and Coggeshall.

Both would have attracted decent crowds, which would have provided a much-needed boost to the club’s income.

The Coggeshall match has been rescheduled for next Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm), with Kem Izzet’s Stanway now set to visit on Tuesday, April 10.

“Knowing the pitch so well, you’d think I’d learn never to be optimistic about games being played over the winter but occasionally I dare to plan ahead and stupidly did exactly that the other week,” added Andrews.

“We were due to be at home to Coggeshall on the Friday night - an attractive tie against a very good team that has been partly funded by (TV and pop star) Olly Murs.

“They’re having a great season - as they should with the money being spent there, but that’s their prerogative and good luck to them - and I expected a crowd of at least 150.

“I then looked a little further ahead and we had Holland FC on the main pitch on the Saturday and 11 youth games on the Sunday.

“Then we were home again on the Tuesday in another attractive match against Stanway.

“We would have hoped for a good crowd and healthy proceeds but how wrong I was.

“Somehow, the weekend matches went ahead but in awful conditions on pitches that should not really have been played on and takings were massively down.

“Then last Monday we had a lot more rain and organised a pitch inspection for 1pm on the Tuesday.

“As expected, the game was called off.

“That made it two weeks with very little income but still the usual bills to pay and a snapshot of how tough things can be in non-league and why I try to never plan ahead.

“My day job is as a money advisor for citizens advice and it takes every bit of the knowledge and expertise I’ve acquired over many years to somehow get us through very tough periods like this.

“However, thanks to that and an amazing team of helpers, volunteers, officials, players and supporters the show will go on.”