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Preston fan given banning order for assaulting Chesterfield's Ian Evatt during pitch invasion


A Preston fan has been given a three year football banning order, after he assaulted a Chesterfield player after a League One play-off semi-final.

Matthew Edwards, who is an apprentice mechanic,  was said to have “got carried away” during a pitch invasion while celebrating his “beloved” Preston North End’s victory over Chesterfield.

CCTV footage captured the 20-year-old weaving his way through fans and then forcefully grasping the shoulder of Chesterfield captain Ian Evatt from behind.

When Evatt turned round, a fellow supporter stepped in to drag away Edwards, who, magistrates heard.

Edwards then appeared to shout abuse at Evatt, who had to be escorted from the Deepdale pitch for his own safety.

Edwards, of Southern Avenue, Preston, was also fined £135 and ordered to pay costs of £255 after he pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court to assault by beating.

Footage of the incident led to Edwards being identified by a police constable and then arrested the following day.

James Ball, defending Edwards, said: “It is fair to say that Matthew is not someone you would commonly describe as a hooligan.

“This is somebody here who got carried away while celeberating a play-off semi-final win for his beloved team.”

Sentencing him, the chair of the bench told Edwards: “We would really like to not see you here again."

“You have been given an opportunity here. Get on with your apprenticeship.”

Evatt reported to police that he had been “punched, kicked and spat on” and later said in a radio interview that he had been “terrified”.

Lancashire Constabulary continue to investigate the incident, with Evatt being the subject of abuse by several fans due to his association with Preston's arch rivals Blackpool.

Preston's fans invaded the pitch at Deepdale following their side's 4-0 aggregate win over Chesterfield in the League One play-off semi finals.

They then went on to beat Swindon 4-0 at Wembley last weekend to earn a place in the Championship and their first triumph in the play-offs in ten attempts.

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