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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
Violence mars England victory
Slovakian police
Slovakian police confronted England fans
England fans have been involved in violence during a Euro 2004 qualifying match against Slovakia in Bratislava

The trouble apparently started when visiting fans in the stands behind one goal began hurling missiles at nearby Slovakian supporters.

Some even tried to scale the flimsy metal fence separating them from their rivals, who were celebrating Szilard Nemeth's goal, putting them 1-0 up in the 24th minute.

Fans had to be helped to safety
Just before half-time, as seats were being thrown, police wearing riot helmets and wielding batons forced England supporters to retreat.

Loudspeaker announcements in English urged the visiting fans to behave.

The second half passed off peacefully and England went on to score two goals, both from Michael Owen, to clinch the tie.

The violence came as police in Bratislava investigating the shooting of two England football fans questioned a pair of private security workers.

Phil Holland, 31, from Worcester, was shot in the leg while Gareth Jones, 30, from Coventry, was shot in the throat.

He was undergoing surgery to remove a bullet, but is said to be in a stable condition.

Police said the manager of a bar in the city centre called a security service to remove about 60 England fans after they had reportedly been trying to pull their own pints of beer.

Security guards opened fire, said police spokeswoman Marta Bujnakova.

Police found 16 cartridges in the bar and have detained two security officers, but are still searching for another.

Fans were injured in the trouble
Mr Holland, a tiler, said: "We had been in the pub in the main square and were walking towards a nightclub when we heard some shots being fired.

"At first they seemed to be firing into the air.

"We all moved away from the noise - but then I suddenly realised I had been shot in the leg."

A friend of Mr Jones, Andy Harvey, added: "We were walking towards the Carlton Hotel, where the England team are staying, just after midnight, looking for a taxi, when there was a bit of a slanging match between English and Slovakian fans, then suddenly six shots rang out.

"We ran for it, but Gareth pulled up saying, 'I think I've been shot'."

Police believe the shot had ricocheted into Mr Jones' neck and that he was "very unlucky".

Intensive care

As he was being taken from intensive care, Mr Jones said the operation he was due to undergo was "quite straightforward".

In the hours before kick-off, another three England fans were detained by police at one of the city's biggest hotels, the Forum.

Meanwhile in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic through which many fans going to the game travelled, 10 England fans were arrested after severe damage was caused to a lap-dancing bar.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service said the violence was believed to have stemmed from an argument about the non-payment of a bill.

The BBC's David Eades
"The heavy duty security was aimed at the five thousand England fans"
Slovakia v England news

Slovakia 1-2 England

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11 Oct 02 | England
12 Oct 02 | England
12 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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