Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Leeds players 'attacked by Carlisle fans'

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson said he would make his feelings "well and truly known"

Leeds United players were punched by Carlisle United fans who invaded the pitch at the end of a cup tie, Leeds boss Simon Grayson has said.

Supporters raced on to the pitch when Carlisle won on penalties to reach the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final.

Grayson said three of his players were "caught by punches" and he accused police and stewards of "doing nothing".

Cumbria Police called the comments disappointing and said match security was "restrained and professional".

The Northern Area final at Brunton Park saw Leeds overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg to draw level on aggregate.

But Carlisle won the penalty shoot-out 6-5 when Shane Lowry's spot kick was saved, leading to the pitch invasion.

Grayson told BBC Leeds: "When we were coming off three of my players have been caught by punches within the crowd.

"The police have done nothing about getting our players off quicker or protecting them.

"The stewards have done nothing about it and that's a serious issue for me.

"I can understand the exuberance of the fans coming on but there has to be something done to get my players off.

"Three of them have been hit from behind and anything could've happened."

He added: "I'll be taking this further with people involved at a higher level. I'm going to make my feelings well and truly known to the people that matter."

Ch Insp Mark Pannone, who led the policing operation at the match, claimed the situation was dealt with "swiftly and robustly".

He said: "The job of the police is to support the stewards, to prevent disorder and respond to incidents as they occur, which is exactly what we did.

'Text-book fashion'

"As soon as the pitch invasion commenced we began working with the stewards to clear the pitch and protect the away fans."

Ten people were arrested for minor disorder and drunkenness offences, and Mr Pannone said the force will seek banning orders where appropriate.

Carlisle United's managing director John Nixon said the situation was dealt with "in text-book fashion" and that stewards and police officers worked together to bring the pitch invasion under control "as quickly as possible".

In a statement on Leeds United's website, chief executive Shaun Harvey said he intends to make a formal complaint to the football authorities.

Carlisle will face Southampton in the final at Wembley on 28 March.



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