Man held over Preston Athletic pitch invastion

A pitch invasion, complete with smoke bombs, brought the action to a halt at Pennypit Park. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
A pitch invasion, complete with smoke bombs, brought the action to a halt at Pennypit Park. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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A man has been jailed for 140 days for being involved in disorder that caused a football match to be temporarily abandoned.

Steven Moffat, 21, from Prestonpans near Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to breaching the peace, resisting arrest and drinking in public during a second-round Scottish Cup fixture between Preston Athletic and Queen’s Park on Saturday, police said.

He appeared from custody at Haddington Sheriff Court today as Preston Athletic awaited possible SFA sanctions for crowd misbehaviour at their Scottish Cup replay at Pennypit two days ago.

Two other men, aged 17 and 21, have been charged in relation to incidents during the match between junior side Preston Athletic and Scottish League Two side Queens Park.

The game at Prestonpans was held up when around 20 people invaded the pitch.

Police and stewards cleared the pitch and removed the supporters who, officers said, set off fireworks and flares during the game.

Referee Nick Walsh pulled both sets of players back into the changing rooms as police officers came on to the pitch to restore order.

The referee restarted the match once the pitch was cleared and Queens Park won 2-1. The game was a replay following a 2-2 draw between the sides at Hampden Park the previous weekend.

Inspector Andrew Harborow said: “It is disappointing that a small group of around 20 people, who claim to be football supporters, disrupted what was otherwise a good-natured family event.

“The total attendance was 806, of which around 100 were travelling fans, the vast majority were there to support their local teams and enjoy a football match.

“Our inquiries are continuing to identify those responsible for the disorder and it is to be expected that the footballing authorities will be looking at the match report with interest.”

The early rounds of the Scottish Cup sees clubs from Scotland’s bottom professional league play some of the best junior teams in the country. Premier League and Championship teams join the competition in the later rounds.

A spokesman for the Hampden club said: “We would expect that the referee will make mention of the incidents. The referee decided that it was serious enough to take the players off and we could not argue with that.”

The Queen’s spokesperson added: “What we would say is that the people involved in the incidents were not representative of the welcome we received from Preston Athletic. We would doubt that those involved were regular supporters and share Preston’s disappointment.”