Fan attacks goalkeeper in Championship match

Associated Press Modified: October 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm •  Published: October 19, 2012

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — Former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was punched to the ground by a pitch invader amid violent scenes in a second-tier League Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds on Friday, bringing further shame at the end of a difficult week for English football.

Kirkland had just conceded a 77th-minute equalizer as Leeds came back to draw 1-1 in the Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough when a man ran onto the pitch from the Leeds supporters' end and struck the 31-year-old keeper in the face. Kirkland received treatment before continuing the match.

"I felt embarrassed to be a manager when I saw that. I thought it was an absolute disgrace," Leeds manager Neil Warnock said. "I think they should get the guy and prosecute him and put him in prison."

South Yorkshire Police said they were working with both clubs "to identify and quickly bring to justice the persons responsible."

Bottles were also thrown onto the pitch from the away end during the match, while Wednesday manager Dave Jones was taunted with songs about criminal charges against him which were dropped in 2000.

"They are vile animals," said Jones, who condemned Warnock and Leeds' players for applauding the away fans after the match.

"He's sore," Jones said of Kirkland. "If he'd have stayed down, I wonder what would have happened. I have an ill goalkeeper. They should be punished."

The fan returned to the stand after attacking Kirkland while trouble continued around him, with a number of other visiting supporters running on and off the field and stewards struggling to contain them.

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