Meggetland youth football match marred by mass brawl

A YOUTH football match was abandoned after a player punched an opponent sparking a mass brawl.

Friday, 12th May 2017, 11:25 am
Updated Friday, 12th May 2017, 1:27 pm
Police are investigating after a player was punched in the face during a youth match between Oxgangs and Spartans which took place at Meggetland. Picture: Rob McDougall

Ugly scenes flared after an AC Oxgangs FC player thumped a Spartans FC youngster in the face, leaving him with a suspected broken nose.

The injured player’s teammates then waded in, leaving officials no option but to call off the fixture with ten minutes to go at Meggetland Sports Complex.

A witness told the Daily Record: “It was a really vicious attack, completely out of order.

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“There has been some sort of chat and the Oxgangs boy has hit the Spartans player a couple of times.

“It’s the sort of thing that you just shouldn’t see during a game at any level.

“I know things can get heated but these players should know how to behave. It’s an embarrassing situation for the club.”

But an Oxgangs coach said his players had to put up with “huge provocation” during the game after taking a 3-0 lead into half-time.

“There was verbal abuse and one of their players went to punch our player before stopping right in front of his face,” said the coach.

“They came out in the second half and were bullying and 
intimidating our players, touching their faces. It was totally inappropriate.

“After the incident, three of their players started kicking our player – I had to run on to the pitch to protect him.

“It was really, really nasty and in eight years in football, I’ve never seen anything like it – I’m glad I’m not coaching next season.”

The coach said he has now submitted a formal complaint about Spartans’ behaviour and poor refereeing to the league.

Oxgangs officials confirmed their 15-year-old player who lashed out has been banned for four matches. There were no reports of injuries sustained by Oxgangs players.

The club has now withdrawn the under-16s team from the league but blamed a player shortage.

“We’ve been struggling for numbers with players at that age where they’ve got exams,” said Oxgangs club leader Brian Lee.

“They haven’t been showing up for training. It’s difficult at that age. We’re down to the bare bones in terms of players.”

A police spokesman confirmed an investigation is under way into the initial assault on Sunday, April 30.

“A 16-year-old male sustained various facial injuries during this attack and officers are currently following a positive line of inquiry,” added the spokesman.

A Spartans FC spokesman said: “We’ll let the SYFA investigate based on the referee’s report and whatever they decide, that’s how we’ll move forward.”