A teenager who ran on to a football pitch and attempted a flying headlock on a player was banned from attending matches for three years yesterday.
The 16-year-old admitted the assault on Queen's Park Ranger defender Ian Evatt during a goalmouth fracas at the end of their 2-1 away victory over Stoke City last year.
The teenager from Trent Vale, Stoke, ran on to pitch and into the centre circle at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke, as the atmosphere at the game heightened following the sending off of a Stoke City player and a controversial penalty being awarded to QPR.
CCTV footage at Newcastle-under-Lyme youth court showed the teenager milling around in the centre circle before running towards the QPR goal as a fracas broke out after one or two other supporters had tried to get on to the pitch.
Liz Rider, prosecuting, said: "He ran towards the goal-mouth and jumped on the back of QPR player Ian Evatt. He took him round the shoulders and forced him to the floor. Evatt then felt a fist hit his left cheek."
Stephen Vesay, defending, said the youth admitted attempting a "flying headlock" on Mr Evatt but did not accept that he had punched his cheek, adding that he has very little memory of the afternoon as he had been extremely drunk.
"For some unknown reason he decided to walk on to the centre circle of the pitch. He then sees an incident in the goal mouth and in a drunken stupor believed it was someone he knew being assaulted by Stoke and QPR players and ran over," said Mr Vesay.
Mr Vesay said several of the footballers had made the incident worse by becoming involved and that a substitute on the QPR bench ran down the pitch and kicked the boy in the head.
"Four stewards had the incident under control but after he tried the headlock eight or nine QPR players put the boot in. There were several players in the goalmouth area who had no reason to be there otherwise.
Mr Vesay said: "Had this been in a public place the players would have faced public order charges."
The teenager also pleaded guilty to one charge of encroachment of a football pitch.
He was banned from attending football matches for three years, made the subject of a three month action plan and his mother was asked to pay £87 costs.
Magistrate Janet Leese told the teenager: "Your behaviour on December 3 contributed to the volatile and dangerous situation."