Football: FA inquiry is likely after derby violence

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The Independent Online
Cardiff City. . .1

Swansea City. . .0

THE LESS sightly face of football revealed itself last night when this South Wales derby was marred by crowd violence and a pitch invasion. Ironically the fixture had been brought forward from next Monday on police instructions because of the overtime required of the force.

The match, which kicked off 40 minutes late, was won by Garry Thompson's second-half goal that pushed Cardiff above Swansea in the Second Division table. The result will be overshadowed by the violent prelude, however, and a Football Association inquiry is almost certain to follow. Cardiff already have a pounds 25,000 suspended fine after trouble at Fulham earlier in the season.

The first hint that all was not well came from the PA, which had already announced a 15-minute delay to allow late arrivals in the 9,815 crowd time to gain admittance, asked for police to go to the grandstand to deal with a 'potentially dangerous situation'. As if on cue, seats started to be hurled from the section where the Swansea supporters were situated and spectators began to spill on to the pitch in search of safety.

Immediately there were Cardiff supporters invading the playing area from all corners of the ground and, with several hundred massing in front of the grandstand, an explosive situation was brewing. Fortunately the arrival of police reinforcements, six of whom were on horseback, defused the situation, but the match was played with dozens of officers ringing Ninian Park.

'I don't know whose decision it was to put the Swansea supporters in the main stand,' Eddie May, the Cardiff manager, said, 'but I'm not happy about it. You can't mix rival supporters like that. Lots of people have been hurt tonight and they may not come back. I think the police were wrong to delay the kick-off initially. I told the referee to get the game started to calm things down.'

The match was decided by a 51st-minute goal, Thompson scoring from 15 yards after Nicky Richardson's through-pass. Almost inevitably, the goal prompted more disturbances and seats were again used as missiles in the grandstand before police prised supporters apart. So much for seated areas curbing violence.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Grew; Brazil, Baddeley, Perry, Searle; Griffith, Aizlewood (P Millar, 83), Richardson, Blake; Thompson (Bird, 77), Stant. Substitute not used: Kite (gk).

Swansea City (4-4-2): Freestone; Jenkins, Burns, Harris, Cook; Bowen, Cornforth, Ford, Perrett (Clode, 77); Torpey, Chapple (McFarlane, 61). Substitute not used: Miles (gk).

Referee: P Danson (Leicester).

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