Isle of Wight Police called in for football match in Newport

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AN INQUIRY has been launched by the Wessex League into the unrest which marred the Division 1 play-off final between Newport and Laverstock at Smallbrook Stadium.

Flares were thrown by the two groups of supporters, the fence around the speed track that surrounds the football pitch was damaged and there were scuffles between the two groups of supporters, according to eyewitnesses yesterday after -noon.

As tensions rose among the crowd of 500, Smallbrook officials called in police in support of the Ryde Neighborhood Police Team.

“No breaches were disclosed and officers remained at the game as a precaution,” a Hampshire Police spokesman said.

Laverstock and Ford fans unleashed a flare on the Smallbrook field full time. Photo: Simon Dear

One of the football dignitaries attending the game was Wessex League chairman Nick Spencer.

He told county press: “Authorities have been notified and will take action in due course.

“It started with an element of emotion – an element of what started as a friendly banter, turned hostile, largely fueled by drinking.

“There was a fight at one point. The stewards handled it very well.

“Triggering flares is bad enough on every level – done by very irresponsible people. They were triggered by both groups of supporters.

Isle of Wight County Press: Dejected Newport players were left shocked at full time, amid green smoke from a flare set off by Laverstock fans.  Photo: Graham BrownDejected Newport players were shocked full time, amid green smoke from a flare set off by Laverstock fans. Photo: Graham Brown

Asked if any sanctions would be issued by the league against either club, Mr Spencer added: “I’m sure there will be. I haven’t seen the league report yet. umpire I don’t know of a police report at this time.

“The police were there in numbers and kept control by being there. They weren’t there initially, but when they arrived things became a lot calmer.”

The Wessex chief said the scenes left him disappointed and he had never seen such an event at local level, in an FA Vase quarter-final match.

Asked if football pitch safety policy would be taken up with the Wessex League board, Mr Spencer said: “Absolutely.”

Isle of Wight County Press: Newport captain Martin McDonough in yellow trying to follow the ball amid green smoke from a flare.  Photo: Graham BrownNewport captain Martin McDonough in yellow trying to follow the ball amid green smoke from a flare. Photo: Graham Brown

“It’s a matter for the board to discuss and make a decision.”

On an investigation into the incident, he added: “Discussions are taking place at the moment. We have to be careful what action the FA are going to take and what the police are doing, so it’s not straight forward.

“We have to be aware of what else is going on.”

Newport chairman Pete Westhorpe, who was in Spain at the time, told county press: “I’m trying to find out. I don’t know much other than what I can see on Facebook .

“I can’t really judge anything from the Facebook photos. I’m emailing our secretary to find out what the situation is.

“I can’t comment until I find out what the league’s position is.”

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