Bristol City and Bristol Rovers unite to condemn violence at derby

17 people were arrested

Both Bristol clubs have united to condemn the violence and pitch invasion which marred last night's derby clash.

The bosses of Bristol City and Bristol Rovers criticised supporters who took to the pitch for spoiling a competitive game, and branded the scenes "disgraceful".

Mounted police were needed to clear City fans from the Ashton Gate pitch after the final whistle. They ran on to the pitch to celebrate their team's 2-1 win over Rovers in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Avon and Somerset Police said 17 people were arrested as a result of the disturbances and three officers received medical treatment for non-serious injuries.

As well as trouble after the final whistle, there were disturbances in the stands, and police in riot gear and stewards were needed to keep rival fans apart.

City manager Sean O'Driscoll said afterwards: "Up until the final whistle I thought it was tremendous. Great support, credit to Bristol Rovers as their support was excellent.

"The scenes at the end were disgraceful. It's taking the shine off a good victory for us. That's what people will be talking about - not the game.

"What's happened is what we didn't want to happen and the players are all disappointed as well.

"The game was played in a good spirit, competitive and not over-zealous, and we wanted the supporters to act in the same manner. Unfortunately they didn't."

O'Driscoll added: "The scenes at the end ... you'd think we'd got promoted to the Championship and not the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. That's the shame of the whole thing - it's ridiculous."

Rovers boss John Ward said his team were unfortunate not to have taken the tie to a penalty shootout.

"However, given the pitch invasion at the end of the match it was probably good that the game didn't get that far," he said.

"You don't want people on the pitch, it's all about the players. It's ridiculous that they come on the pitch and goad opposition fans, and why people can't behave themselves at a football match is beyond me.

"I think the players on both sides were terrific, but I feel the supporters were disappointing."

Police said the build-up to the game was peaceful with both sets of fans well-behaved and in good humour, but as fans began to enter the stadium isolated pockets of anti-social behaviour broke out in and around the ground.

Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters, match commander, said mounted police assisted stewards in clearing the pitch of supporters, which took a matter of minutes.

"The majority of fans were well behaved and enjoyed the match," she said. "However, there was a small minority who came with the sole intention of trying to spoil the enjoyment for the majority.

"We warned before the match that we would not tolerate any form of anti-social behaviour or violence.

"We will now aim to bring the offenders to justice using CCTV coverage and other intelligence and information gathered tonight to bring the offenders to justice."

The match was the first time in six years the bitter rivals had faced each other.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas put the hosts ahead in the 12th minute with a long-range strike.

Rovers equalised just before the hour mark when Mark McChrystal headed in a free-kick, but Bristol-born Joe Bryan struck an impressive winner to send City through to the second round.

PA

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