Fan banned for attacking Chesterfield FC player Ian Evatt

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Chesterfield's Ian EvattImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ian Evatt said he was punched, kicked and spat on by fans

A man has been banned from attending football matches for three years after assaulting Chesterfield captain Ian Evatt following the club's League One play-off defeat at Preston.

Matthew Edwards, 20, of Southern Avenue, Preston, pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates' Court.

Evatt, 33, alleged he was "punched, kicked and spat on" by rival fans after his team lost 3-0 at Deepdale.

The player previously played for Preston's Lancashire rivals Blackpool.

Edwards was also fined £135 and ordered to pay £255 costs.

'Verbal abuse'

The bench heard the apprentice mechanic was captured on CCTV footage weaving his way through fans and grasping Evatt forcefully from behind.

When the player turned round, a fellow supporter stepped in to drag Edwards away.

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

Martine Connah, prosecuting, said Evatt was assaulted "by at least two people" and verbally abused "by many more" at the end of the televised match.

Miss Connah said the defendant drank a pint of lager at a local pub before kick-off and two further bottles of lager at half-time.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Edwards' solicitor said his friends "beckoned" him on to the pitch

'Not a hooligan'

James Ball, defending 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 celebrating a play-off semi-final win for his beloved team."

He said Edwards did not intend to go on to the pitch but changed his mind when he saw friends beckoning him.

Mr Ball said: "He decided to perhaps rub it in and take the mick out of him [Evatt]."

Sentencing Edwards, the chair of the bench told him: "You have been given an opportunity here. Get on with your apprenticeship."

Several other people are being sought by Lancashire Police over the incident.

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