June 26, 2018 9.19 am This story is over 68 months old

‘All hell broke loose’ at Sunday league match

A footballer was left with a fractured jaw

A footballer was left with a fractured jaw after a mass brawl broke out on the pitch during a Sunday League game.

Players from both teams were involved in the violence which erupted five minutes from the end of a hard fought Premier Division clash between Ruston’s United and Newton United in April 2017.

Lisa Hardy, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday (June 25), said that a number of players received yellow cards in a game which involved some heavy challenges, but things appeared to settle down until the final few minutes.

Miss Hardy said: “Two players confronted each other. When the referee looked again there was a melee. At least six or seven players from each side were confronting each other.

“It can best be described as a mass brawl. Players were pulling each others shirts and punches were thrown.

“The referee said he was like a rabbit caught in the headlights. As a result of that melee two defendants were charged. It is fair to say that there were others who should clearly have been looked at.

“A spectator who was watching with her husband described it as a rough game typical of Sunday League football. She said the best description was that all hell had broken loose.”

Miss Hardy added: “Throughout the match there were vigorous incidents between players of both teams. It is clear that neither team covered themselves with glory by their behaviour.

“It was a hard game. There were heated challenges. Tensions ran high. The referee said that there were a number of tackles that caught him by surprise because of their physicality. His view was that the teams were as bad as each other.”

The game was brought to an end after the brawl finished as the 90 minutes were up and both managers agreed it was best not to continue.

A police investigation was later launched after Newton United player William Wright suffered a fractured jaw during the violence. He had earlier been booked for a late challenge on an opponent.

Ruston’s United players Niall Creane and Shaun Booth were later charged and on Monday, June 25 both pleaded guilty to affray arising from the game on April 16 2017.

Creane,25, of Brancaster Drive, Lincoln, and Booth,29, of Durham Close, Washingborough, were each given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months.

Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told them: “On any view this was a disgraceful episode and you both involved yourselves in it but it is important that I keep in mind that it was untypical of each of you.

“It was certainly a very frightening sight for some of the people watching what was going on, but it was more than just the two of you. You two have been left to carry the can for what happened. There are a number of others who can count themselves very lucky not to be in the dock alongside you.”

Jeremy Janes, for Creane, said his client is a hard working man who is ashamed of his behaviour

James Gray, for Booth, said he played no part in the incident that left Mr Wright with a fractured jaw.

“He was acting in a melee in which he was being attacked. What he did was wrong but does not amount to anything more than a push.”