Mon, Jan 10, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Probe launched after Stevenage defender is floored by a punch

AFP, STEVENAGE, ENGLAND

Stevenage’s Stacy Long, unseen, celebrates his goal against Newcastle United with his teammates during their FA Cup match at Broadhall Way in Stevenage, England, on Saturday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

An investigation has been launched after Stevenage defender Scott Laird was floored by a punch from a fan while celebrating his side’s shock 3-1 FA Cup victory over Premier League Newcastle United on Saturday.

“Scott Laird was stood celebrating with the fans, and a fan just came over and smashed him from the side. He went to the ground and it is a shame for the afternoon to end in that way,” Stevenage manager Graham Westley said. “He is a bit bewildered. He [the fan] gave him a right-hander, just smashed him across the cheek and knocked him to the ground. He said to me: ‘It’s lucky I’ve got a big head to take it.’ It was a sad way for things to end.”

An FA spokesman said: “It’s something that should be flagged up in our meeting on Monday. It might be that there was a stadium advisor at the game who’ll be able to advise us on that.”

However, Westley refused to add to Newcastle’s misery, preferring instead to focus on his team’s famous win achieved in their first season as a club in League Two.

“Look, Mark Roberts had his nose busted in the first half. Footballers take bangs, they take knocks. You can’t suggest that is the right way for a football match to end with those things going on, but balls get thrown at people, players get kicked, tackles get made,” Westley said. “We’re not people who spend our lives griping about bangs and knocks. I don’t think it’s the way things should be conducted, but let’s leave it at that. I wouldn’t want it to take the gloss off the players because they have put in a fantastic shift and the focus should be on the performance they have put in.”

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