Leek Sunday League football match off after fight and pitch invasion
A SUNDAY league football game had to be abandoned after a fight between two players sparked a pitch invasion.
The clash between Leek pub sides Blue Mugge and Elmo's Celtic descended into chaos following a reckless tackle on an Elmo's defender.
Elmo's Celtic were furious after a Blue Mugge player launched a two-footed challenge on centre-back Nathan Ball.
And tempers boiled over when the referee refused to show a red card to the offending player.
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Elmo's Celtic striker James McMullen was then punched in the head, sparking a pitch invasion.
Elmo's Celtic substitutes and more than a dozen fans burst on to the field in protest after match officials failed to see the punch.
The fracas meant yesterday's match, at Birchall playing fields, in Cheadle Road, Leek, had to be called off with the scores level at 1-1.
The teams must now file a report to Leek and District Sunday League, which will decide whether to take disciplinary action.
Elmo's Celtic secretary Thomas Bourne said he was "disgusted" by the tackle and the punch.
He said: "We thought it was a bad challenge on one of our players. It was a two-footed challenge and my personal view, and the players' view, was that it was a straight red card.
"But it was only a yellow card and that's when the problems started. We were given a free kick and just before it was taken I now know that one of our lads was punched in the face.
"The referee hasn't seen it, which is fair enough, but the substitutes and the fans are not happy.
"The subs and the fans have come onto the pitch to complain.
"We feel we may get punished, but both clubs will have to submit reports and there are two sides to what happened."
Several Blue Mugge players contacted by The Sentinel following the match declined to comment.
However, the team's former manager Kenny Scragg, below, who was watching the match as a spectator, said he was disappointed with both sets of players.
He said: "You don't want to see it. It's not good really.
"It was a close and hard-fought game and the tackle really sprung things into action.
"It was a 50-50 ball and the ref did well to keep control of the game. But then there was just a melee of people coming onto the pitch.
"There were about a dozen people on the pitch. It was just a football thing really and I think the fans were more aggrieved than the players.
"I heard that their striker was punched but I didn't see anything.
"They are a good bunch of lads and away from football they all go out drinking together, so hopefully they will be laughing about it by now."