St Neots Town face FA action

UCL Premier Division Stotfold 1 St Neots Town 0 (Match abandoned after 41 minutes) ST NEOTS Town are facing disciplinary action after their weekend match at Stotfold was abandoned following a mass brawl. The Football Association are being called in to in

UCL Premier Division

Stotfold 1 St Neots Town 0

(Match abandoned after 41 minutes)

ST NEOTS Town are facing disciplinary action after their weekend match at Stotfold was abandoned following a mass brawl.


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The Football Association are being called in to investigate the violent scenes which brought Saints' United Counties League fixture to a premature close on Saturday.

Town were already down to nine men when referee Dean Appleby called a halt to proceedings, following the dismissals of Tony Russell and Luigi Rocco.

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Mr Appleby described the fracas that led to the abandonment of the match as "the most violent mass brawl I have ever witnessed as a referee on a football field."

He told The Hunts Post: "Once the match kicked off the players seemed more intent on kicking each other than playing football."

There is a history of ill-feeling between the two clubs and that continued in a flurry of yellow cards and melees at Roker Park in Bedfordshire.

Stotfold, the league leaders, had taken the lead inside three minutes through Louis Lee and St Neots missed a disputed penalty on the half-hour through Kevin Byrne.

The match soon degenerated however, and Russell was dismissed in the 40th minute for a second yellow card and when Luigi Rocco followed him down the tunnel for an apparent punch on Luke Donnelly, the violence began.

Referee Appleby dealt with the situation immediately, dismissing Rocco, but soon the majority of players on the pitch were involved in the ugly scenes.

The benches from both sides came out to intervene but the referee said he was left with no option other than to abandon the match.

St Neots chairman Bob Bridges said he was 'appalled' by the incident and had considered resigning on the spot. The chairman added: "What happened has no place on any football pitch."

Stotfold chairman Phil Pateman was equally disgusted by what had happened. He said: "Players and officials have a responsibility to the game of football to behave correctly at all times.

"What happened has no place on Stotfold's pitch or any other for that matter.

"I have already made my players and management team aware of my disappointment and have apologised to the Bedfordshire FA and to the UCL management committee."

In a statement, UCL general secretary Alan Crick said: "The whole UCL committee are aware and shocked at what appears to have taken place.

"I cannot say much until all the reports are with us and the FA and then we will issue a proper report."

Mr Appleby added: "Both chairmen visited me after the match and expressed their disappointment on what had happened and apologised to myself and my assistants.

"The affair has not made me want to give up refereeing but I would not want to see anything similar happen again."

The match will be replayed on Thursday, March 27.

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