Huntingdon Town and Sleaford Town in war of words following FA Cup tie abandonment

FA Cup

FA Cup - Credit: Archant

HUNTINGDON Town have released a statement following the mass brawl that caused the abandonment of their FA Cup tie at Sleaford Town on Saturday in which they refute claims made by the Lincolnshire club about the incident.

Sleaford issued a statement on Sunday which suggested Huntingdon were to blame for the incident which could see both clubs kicked out of the world famous competition.

Huntingdon’s statement was released on Sunday evening after Sleaford had put theirs up on the club’s official website earlier in the day.

The Sleaford statement read:

In the light of certain articles appearing in various press outlets the club’s committee has met and wishes to release the following statement on the events at Eslaforde Park yesterday.

Sleaford Town believe that the information that has been released by Huntingdon does not truly reflect the incident as it occurred. It is our belief that our manager did not try to impede the throw in by walking across the player’s path. The first collision happened as the player ran through our technical area for his run up. It is our belief that the player then, on the second occasion, curved his run so as to collide with our manager.

It has been stated that the Huntingdon No 2 then pushed the ball at our manager when in fact he grabbed him around the throat and threw him to the ground.

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At this point a number of people from the Huntingdon bench came charging across to the Sleaford technical area and we believe in this incident one of our management team was head butted by a substituted Huntingdon player causing a facial injury.

We would like to stress that at no point did anybody from Sleaford leave the technical area nor do we believe any players, officials or any of the management team threw any punches and were purely trying to drag people away.

We pride ourselves on being a community club and it is a great shame to us that yesterday’s events led to children having to be led from the ground in great distress. We have since had it reported to the club that some women watching the game were sworn at in an aggressive manner by members of the Huntingdon bench.

We were leading the game with a few minutes to go and were within touching distance of creating history for the football club in this prestigious competition, so had no desire for the game to descend into a brawl.

We also appreciate that the actions were carried out by a small minority of people involved with Huntingdon Town and does not reflect the beliefs and hard work carried out by the majority of people involved in what is an excellent football club.

We will now await the FA’s decision but do strongly defend our club’s right to remain involved in the competition.

The club would like to thank all the people involved in helping to calm the situation down yesterday and also the ‘lives responders’ for their quick arrival and treatment of the injured parties.

Huntingdon Town refuted many of these claims when they later released their own statement via the club chairman Paul Hunt. Huntingdon’s statement read:

Huntingdon Town FC were awarded a throw in front of the Sleaford technical area, due to the technical area being no more than 500mm from the touch line, it is virtually impossible to take a throw in without running through the technical area.

On two occasions the Sleaford Manager Kris Jones stepped across the path of the Huntingdon No 2 making actual body contact, obstructing him from taking the throw. We can only assume that this was because our No 2 has a (Rory Delap type) throw he didn’t want him to deliver that can be considered as better than a corner type throw into the box. On the second blocking attempt he grabbed Ollie Medwynter around the waist

After the second blocked attempt at the throw in our No 2 pushed the ball into the chest of the Sleaford manager – who fell to the floor in a bizarre attempt that we can only assume was to have our player sent off.

The referee then came over to the dugout and from 10 metres away waved the red card at our No 2 – this did not help the situation as someone in the technical area then grabbed our No 2 and pulled him almost into the dugout

We still had eight minutes to get an equaliser so we certainly had no reason to cause the abandonment of the match; if we had gone on to lose 2-1 we would have been sporting and gracious enough to accept defeat and wish Sleaford all the best in the next round.

The match was a very sporting affair with we believe only one caution but following this incident the situation turned dramatically with verbal racial comments aimed at our players and a scuffle breaking out between the management of Sleaford FC and the Huntingdon Town and Sleaford Players.

Chairman’s statement:

1. As the chairman of Huntingdon Town FC I was standing two yards from the incident and I was appalled that when with three minutes to go, plus the five to be added, that the Sleaford manager stood in the way of Ollie Medwynter who was then grabbed by the manager Kris Jones who stopped him from making the throw in which would have gone into the opposing penalty box. Mr Jones in effect assaulted Ollie Medwynter who retaliated by pushing him away but I would like to make it clear that Ollie Medwynter was provoked into a response.

I know Ollie Medwynter personally and he is not a man of a violent nature in any manner but as anybody else would he took exception to being grabbed quite aggressively by the Sleaford manager and to the racist comments aimed at him from other Sleaford fans.

2. I was totally taken aback by the racist comments aimed at our players and in particular Ollie Medwynter and Jamie Graham who both suffered very personal comments relating to their race and colour.

As a chairman trying to stamp out all types of racism in football I find these actions totally unacceptable and these comments were in fact the very reason why this whole episode escalated into a brawl that again was avoidable and not acceptable in any manner by all involved.

Both clubs were expected to still be in the draw of the competition for the second round qualifying stage this morning.