Sunday, June 26, 2022

Man arrested after allegedly assaulting Billy Sharp on contact line

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was allegedly assaulted as Nottingham Forest fans poured onto the pitch at the end of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final.

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy said: “A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. He remains in custody and is being questioned by officers.

“Our investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and are working with both clubs who are assisting us in our investigation.”

The Blades captain was sidelined for the second leg through injury and was on the touchline after Forest clinched a dramatic 3-2 win on penalties following a 3-3 aggregate draw, leading to a pitch invasion on the City Ground led.

Footage shared on social media appears to show a supporter running towards the 36-year-old former Forest forward and knocking him to the ground.

Forest has condemned the incident, saying in a statement that they “will be working with authorities to locate the individual” and that the perpetrator will be subject to a “lifetime ban” from the club.

The incident overshadowed Forest’s win, in which the Reds’ win at Wembley on Sunday 29 May meant a showdown in the play-off final against Huddersfield and, for the first time since 1999, a chance of a return to the top flight league secured.

However, they were pushed there after squandering a two-goal lead. Brennan Johnson provided a cushion after a 2-1 lead from the first leg, but goals from Blades duo Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck in the second half sent the tie into extra time and then penalties.

Brice Samba, who made a special close-range save late on against Iliman Ndiaye, then saved Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Gibbs-White’s penalties to the delight of a sold-out crowd.

Forest head coach Steve Cooper, who took over the club last September when they were bottom in the second division, said: “To get through a two-legged play-off semi-final you have to give your all.

“We have survived a lot. I would have liked to have won the game 3-1 and run away, but the fact that we did it the way we did means we are now better equipped to get to the final.

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