VALE officials believe a decision by referee Michael Addy has not only dented their bank balance but could also be instrumental in their relegation.

The referee called off Saturday’s match between the Innerleithen team and Dalbeattie Star less than an hour before kick off.

Both teams appealed for a rethink during heated scenes at Victoria Park.

But the decision stood and the match was officially postponed due to ‘a waterlogged pitch’.

Vale manager Chris Anderson described the decision as ‘the worst I’ve come across in Scottish football’ while the club’s chairman Stuart Robertson also hit out.

He said: “We played here against Bonnyrigg five or six weeks ago and the pitch was much worse than it is today, yet the referee said it was fine and we just got on with the game.

“It was a similar story last month when we played East Stirlingshire, yet today we didn’t even think there was any doubt about the pitch.

“The park was rolled and it was forked, everyone apart from the referee thinks it’s fine for a game of football.”

Vale currently sit three points adrift of Star at the bottom of the Lowland League.

Gretna and Edinburgh University are also embroiled in the fight to avoid finishing bottom and dropping into the East of Scotland leagues.

But Mr Robertson believes a possibility of home advantage being lost for the clash with Star will put his team at a disadvantage.

He added: “This is the second time the game has been postponed and we’ll likely be made to play at our nominated alternative ground, which is at Preston Athletic.

“Giving up home advantage for such an important game isn’t what you want, especially as it never had to happen.”

Although the match was postponed, Vale still had to honour half the fees for the referee and his two assistants, as well as their travel expenses.

John Anderson from Vale said: “We operate on a really tight budget so the postponement is costly for us.

“We weren’t able to generate any income, yet still had to pay out over £100 to the officials and also the money for stocking the canteen, which will be mostly be lost.

“I would estimate the decision by the referee has cost the club around £600 – money we really need.

“If we do have to go Prestonpans for the match it will be even more costly.”

Vale of Leithen are currently fundraising towards the installation of floodlights at Victoria Park.

On April 4 the club will host a coffee morning at the Vale Club, and on April 18 they will also host a race night at the same venue.