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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Havant defender Gregory's Anfield hopes dashed

Havant & Waterlooville's hopes of playing suspended full-back Justin Gregory in their glamour FA Cup tie at Liverpool on Saturday are over after a strange twist of fate last night.

Gregory had initially been ruled out of the fourth-round clash at Anfield after accruing five yellow cards but a rearranged Blue Square South game at Thurrock looked like giving him an early chance to serve the one-match ban.

But the Football Association intervened and, by deeming the moving of the Thurrock game a deliberate attempt by the club to manipulate the fixture list, ruled that Gregory's suspension must stand for the Liverpool match.

Havant & Waterlooville responded by bringing in a QC to examine whether that ruling contravened regulations - but their efforts became academic after floodlight failure forced the abandonment of the Thurrock match.

A light went out after 19 minutes at Thurrock's Ship Lane ground and, although play eventually restarted, a second failure forced the referee to call off the match.

Gregory told Sky Sports News: 'I'm so disappointed, I'm devastated. I believe in fate and it was obviously fate that I wasn't going to play at Anfield. Unfortunately the dream has ended there.

'It seems to be very convenient and it seems to have got the FA out of a big hole, as it were. A floodlit failure is a floodlit failure.

'I was pleading with the referee at half-time to get the game on. Both sides wanted to play but the referee was adamant the game was not going ahead. Obviously he has his responsibilities, he doesn't want to get anyone injured, but I am devastated.'