Football Association to investigate pitch invasion after Aston Villa win
The Football Association are set to launch an investigation into the crowd trouble which marred Aston Villa’s FA Cup quarter-final victory over West Brom on Saturday (March 7).
Second-half goals from Fabian Delph and Scott Sinclair settled a feisty contest which saw both teams end the match with 10 men.
To add icing to the cake, Tim Sherwood’s team made it two wins over their local rivals in just five days.
However, the match was overshadowed by controversial scenes in the closing stages, which are certain to be the subject of FA scrutiny in the coming days.
Football’s governing body is believed to have had a crowd control advisor present in the stands.
Smoke bomb = More to come?
The first sign of trouble came shortly after Delph’s 51st-minute goal, when a smoke bomb was let off by the home fans in the lower tier of the North Stand.
Tensions became further heightened later in the half when West Brom supporters situated in the North Stand’s upper tier tore out several seats, throwing them at the Villa fans below.
In added time, stewards were forced to gather up hordes of home fans who flooded onto the field to prematurely celebrate before the final whistle.
Then a mass pitch invasion ensued at the final whistle, with players from both sides caught up in a melee which Villa skipper Delph described as “very, very scary.”
In an interview after the match, Delph said he was allegedly bitten by a fan during the pitch invasion.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis told the BBC:
“It’s disgraceful. We don’t want to see those scenes.
“They’ve beaten us and for that to happen, that’s just mindless idiots."
Asked if any of his players had been struck, Pulis replied: “I didn’t ask them afterwards.
“Everyone looked as though they had their heads on, their arms on and their legs on. Nobody said anything to me.”
Villa boss Sherwood insisted he “could not condone the fans entering the field,” yet conceded “I can understand their emotions.”
“They’ve just beat their local rivals twice in a week and once in the quarter-final of the FA Cup, so the emotions are running very, very high.
“But like I say, the club wouldn’t condone that sort of action, especially if anyone was touched."
While he was unaware of whether players were "touched", he did add: “What can you do? The stewards did their best, I saw them rugby tackle a few guys.
"But when they are coming on in such numbers it’s difficult to stem it.”
It will be the first time Villa have been to Wembley in five years, their last appearance coming in an FA Cup semi-final in 2010 when they were beaten by Chelsea.
But, in the meantime, Sherwood insists their focus must return to their battle against relegation - which continues against fellow strugglers Sunderland next weekend.
Sources: AFP, YouTube, Vine