Ban for pitch punch boy, 13

A Chesterfield fan punches Bury's goalkeeper Cameron Belford
A Chesterfield fan punches Bury's goalkeeper Cameron Belford
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A SCHOOLBOY who invaded a football pitch and punched the opposing team’s goalkeeper in the face has become one of the youngest ever to receive a banning order.

The Spireites fan, aged just 13 at the time, admitted assaulting Bury’s Cameron Belford during a League 2 game at Chesterfield’s B2Net stadium on April 25.

Chesterfield Youth Court imposed a three-year football banning order, making the defendant, now 14, the youngest in Derbyshire to receive an order.

Presiding magistrate Linda Brooks said the bench had spared him custody because of his age and lack of previous convictions.

She handed him a one-year referral order, with £100 compensation to Mr Belford and £85 costs.

A large number of fans ran on to the pitch after Chesterfield scored an equalising goal in the match, which Bury won 3-2.

Helen Griffiths, prosecuting, said: “Mr Belford said he felt general jostling and he then felt a direct blow of medium force to the right side of his face.

“This caused him worry and concern because he had recently been treated for a fractured right cheekbone and had a plate inserted.

“He didn’t see who punched him. He suffered a small cut to his right eyebrow and swelling and tenderness around the eye and cheekbone.”

The goalkeeper felt able to play the rest of the game. The incident attracted national publicity and the boy later handed himself in to police.

He said the victim had been ‘winding up’ Chesterfield fans and behaving in a ‘cocky’ fashion towards the crowd after making saves. But he accepted that did not justify his actions, which he agreed were wrong.

Kevin Tomlinson, defending, said the boy’s father had encouraged him to go to matches to get him out of the house.

He said: “He had been to four or five games before this match. Chesterfield scored and he suddenly and stupidly went on the pitch.

“That was bad enough but why he went up to the goalkeeper and punched him is beyond his family’s comprehension.

“He can’t understand it himself. He has written letters of apology to both football clubs and he has decided he won’t be going to football matches in any event.”

The teenager, who cannot be identified, told the court: “It’s hard to come to terms with it - I just got carried away.”

His parents said the offence had shocked the family and caused them great upset and disappointment.

His father said: “He’s a good lad really. It was totally out of character.”