23 Oct 2012

Leeds United fan gets 16 weeks in jail for attacking player

12:47 pm on 23 October 2012

A 16-week jail term has been handed to a 21-year-old Leeds United fan for attacking former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in a match against Sheffield Wednesday.

Aaron Cawley from Cheltenham pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates' Court to assault and invading the pitch during the game at Hillsborough on Friday.

Cawley was given a five-year football banning order by the court and Leeds say he will be banned for life from attending games at Elland Road.

Wednesday keeper Kirkland was pushed in the face by Cawley and shoved to the ground moments after conceding an equaliser in the 76th minute.

Kirkland had just been beaten by a superb 77th-minute equaliser from Michael Tonge in the English Championship clash when Leeds supporters spilled onto the pitch in over-zealous celebration of the goal and Cawley commmitted the assault, sending the stunned keeper crashing to the turf.

Police and stewards eventually cleared the field of the fans, but the visibly shaken Kirkland needed several minutes of treatment before he was able to continue for the remainder of the game which ended 1-1.

The Leeds fans massed in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium also appeared to hurl objects, including broken seats, onto the pitch towards Kirkland.