POLICE have caught the thug believed to have assaulted Owls keeper Chris Kirkland.
The yob - who shoved Kirkland in the face with both hands - managed to flee Hillsborough following the match but was named and shamed on the internet.
Fans identified the Leeds fan on Twitter as Aaron Cawley, aged 21, from Cheltenham, who has convictions for football hooliganism and was barred from every ground in the country as a teenager.
He was arrested just before 1pm yesterday by Gloucestershire Police and brought back to South Yorkshire for questioning.
Chf Supt Jason Harwin, from South Yorkshire Police, said officers faced a huge challenge in trying to pick the fan who attacked Kirkland out of the packed crowd once he’d returned to his seat.
Fans of both teams have expressed outrage over the incident during Friday’s 1-1 draw with Leeds.
Kirkland called on the yob who attacked him to be ‘jailed for years’.
Wednesday manager Dave Jones apologised for branding Leeds fans ‘vile animals’ in the immediate aftermath, but added: “It wasn’t just about one person - after he’d done it, he was being slapped on the back, he was a hero.”
An Owls spokesman said the club would not be commenting until a ‘full debrief’ had been held this morning, while the Football Association has launched its own investigation.