Team heads home at halftime after 8-0 humbling by derby rivals

(Reuters) - English side Abingdon United were set to record one of their most memorable wins on Saturday when they were 8-0 up on rivals Abingdon Town, only to find the opposition had left the stadium at halftime to spare themselves of more embarrassment.

The two teams play in the Hellenic League Division One East, the 10th tier of English football, and second-placed United are chasing promotion while Town are bottom of the standings with only two wins all season.

The hosts were 4-0 up in 15 minutes at the Northcourt Road venue and added four more before the break, after which Town’s players refused to come out for the restart.

Instead, the visitors left their kits behind in the dressing room and left the ground without any explanation.

"In my 30 years of football I've never known anything like that to happen," United secretary John Blackmore told BBC Sport here.

“The game started off fine, there was no nastiness or anything like that, but we were 8-0 up at halftime and then their manager and players didn’t come out for the second half.

“There was a reasonable crowd there of about 160 people and they were as gobsmacked as anybody else. We want to win a game, but not in this sort of fashion.”

Abingdon Town chairman Brian Kirk said he was “incredibly disappointed” to hear about the incident.

“After all the problems we had last year we hoped we had turned a corner and could stabilise the club,” Kirk said, referring to their financial issues that nearly saw the club fold.

“I can’t make too many more comments until I can get hold of the manager.”

The club also released a statement on Sunday apologising to spectators who had hoped to watch a full game.

“We are clearly disappointed, and continue to find ourselves in a tough position and struggling to recover from previous club management. This has not helped us get back on our feet,” the club said on Twitter.

“We apologise to everyone who turned up hoping to watch 90 minutes of football and we on the board agree this is embarrassing and not in the spirit of the game.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge