Port Vale fans invade the pitch after their play-off semi-final win vs Swindon and appear to throw PUNCHES at opposition players in English football’s latest night of shame… in same week Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was attacked by a supporter
Pitch-invading Port Vale supporters appeared to punch Swindon players following their League Two playoff semi-final victory on Thursday night.
Darrell Clarke’s men booked their place in the Wembley final by edging a nervy penalty shootout at Vale Park, after James Wilson’s opener for the hosts sent the tie to extra-time and then spot-kicks following Swindon’s 2-1 win in the first leg.
It was Vale who came out on top from 12 yards, with goalkeeper Aidan Stone proving the hero and setting up a date of destiny with Mansfield next Sunday.
However, what should have been a night to savour for the club ended in disgrace when home fans invaded the pitch to celebrate their victory and then appeared to throw punches towards crestfallen Swindon players.
Sky Sports cameras captured the moment Vale fans became embroiled in an altercation with opposition players on the pitch, with punches seemingly thrown during the melee.
Jack Payne, Ben Gladwin and Jake O’Brien appear to have be the three Swindon stars targeted by the fans, before security soon intervened to pull them away from the trouble.
Sky Sports pundit Danny Gabbidon said: ‘What we’re seeing now, those stewards really need to get the Swindon players down the tunnel and away from some of these fans.
Port Vale fans appeared to punch Swindon players (bottom right) after their League Two playoff semi-final
Vale and Swindon were both battling it out to reach next Sunday’s playoff final at Wembley
It was the hosts who prevailed in the end at Vale Park thanks to the lottery of penalty kicks
But a pitch invasion after the game turned sour when Swindon players were attacked
‘Some unsavoury scenes we never like to see. Some Port Vale fans goading those Swindon Town players who are reluctant to get off the field of play.
‘Harry McKirdy was escorted off quickly as a few Port Vale tried to get to him. Unsavoury scenes which will mar a fantastic night for Port Vale.’
Swindon boss Ben Garner also said: ‘What they have had to put up with coming off that pitch… players have been physically and verbally abused.
‘I know I’ve seen it in some of the other play-off games, I don’t know where we’re going as a country it’s absolutely disgusting.’
Swindon right-back Mandela Egbo took to Twitter to lambast Vale fans after the invasion, accusing them of throwing punches but only managing a ‘scratch’.
Along with a selfie which shows a scratch on his nose, Egbo wrote: ‘How you scummy fans get two free shots and only manage a scratch?
‘And I’m supposed to keep my cool – if I react I’m the bad guy right?’
The shocking incident comes on a week which has seen a number of fixtures in both the Premier League and EFL marred by fan violence and unrest.
On Tuesday night Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp was headbutted by a supporter during a pitch invasion after their Championship playoff semi-final defeat against Nottingham Forest, with a man subsequently arrested and jailed for 26 weeks over the incident.
Swindon boss Ben Garner branded the actions of Vale supporters ‘absolutely disgusting’
Forest insist they will be issuing a life ban over the attack on Sharp, who later branded the culprit a ‘scumbag’.
Sharp’s team-mate Oli McBurnie was also at the centre of controversy after footage emerged which appear to show the United striker stamping on a Forest fan during the pitch invasion.
One day later two Northampton fans broke onto the pitch after their League Two playoff semi-final loss at home to Mansfield and made a beeline for the latter’s players, while reports even suggested a flare was thrown towards them.
EFL chiefs threatened clubs with stadium closures and points deductions on Wednesday night, saying in a statemen after the trouble at Forest: ‘We recognise this lawlessness is being conducted by a small minority of individuals and the majority attending matches are a credit to their club.
It comes on the same week Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was attacked by a supporter
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira was also involved in an altercation with an Everton fan
‘However, it is not acceptable for fans to enter the field of play at any time given the EFL’s objective is to ensure our matches remain safe and welcoming for all.
‘This summer we will consider what further measures are at our disposal, including the potential use of capacity reductions or similar mitigations. Punitive action will follow for those who continue to disregard ground regulations and break the law at matches.’
On the same night Port Vale fans swarmed the pitch and threw punches at Swindon players, Goodison Park descended into chaos as Everton came from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 and secure their Premier League safety.
Amidst wild scenes at a jubilant Goodison, Palace boss Patrick Vieira appeared to kick a pitch-invader after being goaded while leaving the field.