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Leeds players attacked by Carlisle fans - Simon Grayson

By Sean Chaney

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson's Leeds United team are currently second in League One

Leeds intend to make a formal complaint to the Football League after alleging that several players were attacked by Carlisle fans after Tuesday's cup game.

Leeds claim Robert Snodgrass, Shane Lowry and one other player were struck after Carlisle had won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie on penalties.

Leeds blame poor security arrangements for the post-match incidents.

But both Carlisle United and Cumbria Police insist the stewarding of the game was "restrained and professional".

Tuesday's match at Brunton Park had to be settled by penalties after the two-legged semi-final finished 4-4 on aggregate.

Carlisle eventually clinched their place in the final against Southampton by winning the shoot-out 6-5.

The result sparked a pitch invasion, during which Leeds claim the players were attacked.

"I can understand the exuberance of the fans coming on, but there has to be something done to get my players off," said Leeds manager Grayson in the immediate aftermath.

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

There were also reports that a blue laser pen was shone at the Leeds players as they took their penalties, while Grayson says his goalkeeper Casper Ankergren had objects thrown at him during the shoot-out.

Chief Inspector Mark Pannone, who led the policing operation at the match, said the situation was dealt with "swiftly and robustly".

He said: "We are disappointed by Mr Grayson's comments. The policing and the stewarding of the match was conducted in a restrained and professional manner.

"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.

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

Carlisle managing director John Nixon also issued a robust defence of his club's stewards.

"We believe that the policing and stewarding at Tuesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final was conducted in textbook fashion, to bring the pitch invasion under control as quickly as possible," he said.

Leeds announced their intention to launch a formal complaint on Wednesday.

"It is our current intention to make a formal complaint to the football authorities about the apparent lack of security arrangements in relation to the safety of our players at Carlisle," confirmed Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey.

"It is also our intention to supplement the evidence we already have by having further conversations with both Carlisle United Football Club and the Cumbria Police Force."

Harvey added: "We'd like to offer our congratulations to Carlisle United on reaching the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and we will turn our attentions on the field to our remaining 18 league games and our quest for promotion."

Grayson added: "I'm still very unhappy at the lack of protection afforded to my players and I'm pleased that the club will be taking the matter further with the relevant authorities."

Carlisle v Leeds

Carlisle 2-3 Leeds (agg 4-4, 6-5 pens)

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see also
Carlisle 2-3 Leeds Utd (4-4 agg)
09 Feb 10 |  Football

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