Steward injured in Deepdale pitch invasion

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Police on the pitch at the final whistle
PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Police on the pitch at the final whistle
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A steward was injured after he was trampled by a police horse during the pitch invasion which followed Preston North End’s victory over Blackpool.

The steward appeared to be trampled by a police horse on the Deepdale pitch as he helped to clear it of fans following the 1-0 win.

The steward, wearing a hi-vis jacket, looked to have been struck by the horse as it cantered across the pitch, while another horse - also helping with crowd dispersal - seemed to clip him as he lay on the ground.

Lancashire Police confirmed they were looking into the incident.

It is understood he received an x-ray in hospital after receiving an injury to his shoulder.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “You don’t want people to be running on the pitch and I would have preferred them to stay behind as the football club might get in trouble over what’s happened, but hopefully there’s not been too many people seriously injured.

“Hopefully it was only supporters being boisterous and there was nothing too intense or damage down to anybody as you see how much it meant to everybody at the football club.

“The result shows everybody what it means to the football club. I thought it was a cracking cup tie with a great atmosphere with some good football and good defending.”

Blackpool boss Paul Ince labelled the pitch invasion by Preston fans an “absolute joke” after his side crashed out of the Capital One Cup, calling for a major clampdown by the authorities.

Ince said the issue requires drastic attention.

“It’s an absolute joke and I wondered if we have enough stewards,” he said.

“You see enough situations where fans run on a pitch and I can understand fans’ excitement, but there have been enough frightening things that have happened to players that we need to stamp down on it.

“There were three or four hundred Preston fans, so who knows what could have happened? Has it got to take something else to happen before we listen? That’s not just Preston but it’s the whole football community in general. We need to knuckle down on this.