Gary's great escape

Gary Stewart says he was left shocked and stunned after coming within millimetres of losing his sight.

The South Manchester 2nd goalkeeper suffered a horrific facial injury after being kicked just above his left eye during the 4-1 defeat by Haroldeans.

Brave Stewart required 15 stitches and two trips to hospital after Adam Boyars caught him with a challenge described as 'reckless in the extreme' by South Manchester 2nd boss Neil Collins.

The electrician could also be forced to undergo plastic surgery although doctors are hopeful that he will make a swift recovery following specialist stitching. "If he had studded me just slightly lower I would have been blinded," said Stewart.

"I'm very lucky because it was so close to my eye and there's no doubt about it really, any lower and I'd not be able to see.

"These things happen in football and I don't believe for a minute that he (Boyars) intended to hurt me.

"I can't really see out of it at the moment and it means I can't work.

"I don't really want to look at it in the mirror either because it has got me quite down but it won't stop me playing football. I'll be back in a couple of weeks."

The incident, which saw Boyars sent off on his debut, led to Stewart being taken to the Alexander and Wythenshawe hospitals for treatment.

But the South Manchester man says the greatest treatment of all came from Haroldeans managerial duo Ivan Gee and Fraser Saville.

"Everyone at Haroldeans were fantastic to me," he added. "Both Fraser and Ivan were so good with me and I can't thank them enough.

"Adam has apologised to me and I accept that."

Haroldeans boss Gee added: "It wasn't deliberate but it was definitely a sending off. It was really unfortunate and we send Gary all the best and wish him a speedy recovery."

    Last updated: 2:11pm, October 12 2011