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Behaviour of Hadleigh United and Lakenheath players and officials being investigated after melee leads to late abandonment





Suffolk FA officials are investigating a fight which broke out in Lakenheath's fiery home match with Hadleigh United on Saturday and led the referee to abandon the game inside the final 10 minutes.

The scoreline in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division match involving the eighth and fifth-placed teams had been 2-1 to the lower of those two, Lakenheath, who had been left playing with nine men following two red cards being shown.

The 'melee', as Hadleigh United's Twitter accounted reported it at the time, was said to have involved both club staff and players just off the confines of the pitch itself at The Nest, Pitstop Auto Factors Arena in Wing Road.

Lakenheath contest a decision in a game which saw them have two players sent off before it was called off inside the last 10 minutes Picture: Hannah Parnell @parnellphoto_
Lakenheath contest a decision in a game which saw them have two players sent off before it was called off inside the last 10 minutes Picture: Hannah Parnell @parnellphoto_

Suffolk Police confirmed its officers had not been called to the incident though SuffolkNews understands a number of parties sustained injuries. Video footage is thought to be available to pass to Suffolk FA's investigation.

Both clubs could be left facing misconduct charges for failing to control their players and staff pending the outcome of Suffolk FA's investigation which will then be passed to the Thurlow Nunn League for its officials to decide on how to proceed with the fixture. Individuals could also be sanctioned, including hit with suspensions.

Lakenheath released a club statement via their Twitter account which read: "In around the 82nd minute, a confrontation took place at the corner of the pitch between some staff and players.

Things soon got heated in Lakenheath's home game with Hadleigh United with the referee abandoning the action in the 82nd minute with the home side reduced to nine men Picture: Hannah Parnell @parnellphoto_
Things soon got heated in Lakenheath's home game with Hadleigh United with the referee abandoning the action in the 82nd minute with the home side reduced to nine men Picture: Hannah Parnell @parnellphoto_

"The officials took the decision to abandon the game shortly after.

"We will keep supporters up to date on any outcome."

Meanwhile, the club released a further short statement to SuffolkNews which read: "We will full co-operate with Suffolk FA's investigation to the highest extent and will make no further comment until these investigations have been concluded."

Hadleigh United's official Twitter account posted at the time: "Game abandoned on about 80 mins.

"Melee other side of the railings amongst substitutes..then opposing bench and of course players go over to try and break it up."

Hadleigh chairman John Chenery said this morning: "All I can say is we will await the referee's report and necessary comments from the Suffolk FA and see what course of action is thrown at us."

A Suffolk FA spokesperson said: “Suffolk FA are aware the Lakenheath FC v Hadleigh United FC Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division fixture on Saturday 4th March was abandoned.

"An investigation into the circumstances around the abandonment has begun. Any further action will be considered once those investigations have concluded.

“We are also maintaining communication with the Thurlow Nunn League.”

Meanwhile, Thurlow Nunn League chairman Peter Hutchings said: "Until a decision is made by the county re parties being a fault there is no decision the league can take."

Lakenheath had taken the lead through Dean Grogan in the 14th minute with the first sign of trouble reportedly in the 22nd minute with a confrontation in the home penalty area seeing players from each side shown a yellow card.

A penalty was awarded to Lakenheath on the stroke of half-time but from the aftermath an off-the-ball incident saw goalscorer Grogan show a red card. Luke Young subsequently tucked away the spot kick.

The next reported flash point came just after the hour mark when Hadleigh were awarded a penalty with Lakenheath goalkeeper Charlie Beckwith's protests that the ball was in front of the required spot seeing him shown a yellow card.

He went on to save the penalty from Ethan Mayhew but was horrified to be shown a second yellow card, and thus red, for being adjudged to having been off his line when it was taken – something he Tweeted that video evidence proved was wrong, along with the illegal position of the ball.

Beckwith also pointed to his red card being an inacurrate interpretation of the laws. In Law 14 on penalty kicks it states a goalkeeper should only be booked for coming off their line at a penalty at a second offence, having received a warning in the first instance.

Having been sent off though, player Craig Nurse took over in goal before Mayhew eventually scored.

Playing with nine men, Hadleigh were said to be coming under heavy pressure before the match-ending incident inside the last 10 minutes, but still led 2-1.

Steve Holder's side are 14 points adrift of second-placed Ipswich Wanderers in the potential promotion spot, which would come down to a play-off with a higher-league side, with two games in hand.

Lakenheath are due to be back in action at home tomorrow evening with the visit of Fakenham Town (7.45pm).