Referee’s Secretary Andy Myerson criticised the behaviour of a handful of individuals following the unsavoury scenes which followed a stoppage-time equaliser from former RJC player Ryan Cole in a match that finished 4-4.
Seconds after the final whistle, Myerson, who was the fourth official for the match, confirmed that Fairlop players and officials goaded their opponents and RJC’s Michael Ellis retaliated by striking Fairlop’s Jake Sanders, sending him tumbling to the floor. This resulted in a melee involving players and supporters, which included parents, from both teams before order was restored.
The London FA will investigate the incident, which has seen both clubs charged on two accounts. Ellis was sent off by referee Josh Smith for violent conduct.
Myerson said: “Football’s an emotive game, especially when it finishes the way it did and it’s a local derby with a lot at stake. But I reckon there must have been a dozen people who all made at least one wrong decision at the end of the game and that includes players, non-players and supporters.”
Myerson praised the efforts of the majority of players for helping to restore order. “Fortunately there were enough others around with cool heads that eventually stopped things getting too serious,” he said.
“But it’s just rubbish – people need to look at themselves – on both sides and resolve to make better decisions when it matters. It’s no use saying some of these are young and emotional people, they all know right from wrong. I can’t appoint referees to games where there’s such a real threat of violence. It has to stop and stop here.”
The trouble tarnished what had been a thrilling match between the Essex rivals. Dean Nyman (2) and Adam Bolle, who was registered by RJC for his second stint at the club, had given the visitors a 4-3 lead. Fairlop, who have not lost a league match since joining the MGBSFL two years ago, were indebted to goals from Adam Goldman, Brad Gayer and a penalty from James Jaconelli before Cole’s late equaliser.
Asked about any possible punishments for the post-match scenes, goal-scorer Gayer: “From our side, I don’t think we should have points deducted. I don’t want to disrespect RJC too much, but they were desperate to beat us. They brought in the likes of Adam Bolle and other players at the last minute.”
Fairlop manager Aaron Dias said: “I’m sure the league will ask for a report from both sides. It’s quite disappointing to see what happened at the end and wasn’t necessary.”
For their part, RJC have told the JC they will discuss internally at a meeting later this week. A club statement read: “We don’t condone any violence on the pitch or spectators running on to the pitch during the game regardless of the situation.”
Commenting on the game, Dias went on to say: “We were so much better than them for 90 minutes. I think everyone other than the RJC manager realised they got it wrong today, bringing in players who are not regulars. It’s a shame they didn’t play the players who have played for them all season.”