The Football Association has confirmed it will investigate the events that led to Monday’s ugly pitch invasion at Deepdale, which resulted in a steward being hospitalised by a police horse.
Monday’s Capital One Cup clash between Preston and Blackpool spiralled out of control when Tom Clarke headed a dramatic late winner for the home side.
Fans stormed the pitch to celebrate their side's victory and stewards were required to help clear the pitch. However, one unsuspecting helper was unintentionally trampled by a horse, and Daily Telegraph writer Ben Rumsby has revealed the FA will act:
FA confirms it is "looking into" pitch invasion at Preston-Blackpool which saw steward 'trampled' by police horse.— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) August 6, 2013
The game had been a typical clash between local rivals, fuelled by passion but rarely boiling over into anything that resembled unnecessary antagonism.
Clarke’s winner was the spark as Preston fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate, with a small number heading towards their Blackpool counterparts.
That prompted police to form a protective wall between the two sets of fans that, according to John McDougall of the Press Association, quoted by Fox Sports, took between five and 10 minutes to clear.
Blackpool manager Paul Ince, who finished on the losing side, was more concerned by how easily the fans had invaded the field, and called on the FA to take action in quotes reported by BBC Sport.
This is the problem in football and we talk about the respect campaign and you see enough incidents in football where fans are allowed to run on the pitch. We've seen goalkeepers get hit and players get punched. When are we going to learn?
When you've got 200 Preston fans running on the pitch and my players are still on the pitch, who knows? There's no control and is it going to take someone getting stabbed before we wake up and smell the coffee?
This is a big derby, is there enough stewarding in the ground? We'll have to wait for something to happen to do something about it. There have been enough incidents over the last two or three years that we really should be getting our heads together about it.
Television cameras filmed the grounded steward walking away from the incident before later being taken to the hospital. The FA will examine all footage to gain an understanding of what caused Monday’s unwanted climax to the match.