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Port Vale promise ‘zero tolerance approach’ to fan who chased after referee

A Port Vale fan is restrained after running onto the pitch (Jess Hornby/PA)
A Port Vale fan is restrained after running onto the pitch (Jess Hornby/PA)

Port Vale have vowed to deal with a supporter who ran on the pitch and attempted to confront referee Craig Hicks during their 1-0 defeat to Sky Bet League One leaders Portsmouth at Vale Park.

Hicks awarded an 88th-minute penalty to the visitors when Conor Grant  brought down Abu Kamara and Colby Bishop converted to keep Pompey top of the table.

The home fans were furious as they felt they had a strong claim for a free-kick seconds earlier, with one supporter entering the pitch and chasing after the official before the coaching staff on the touchline intervened.

A statement from Port Vale on their X account read: “Port Vale Football Club condemn the actions of the individual who entered the field of play during today’s match against Portsmouth.

“We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure the matter and the individual is dealt with a zero tolerance approach.

“We remind all supporters that entering the field of play is a criminal offence.”

The Valiants sit just three points above the relegation zone in 20th spot following the defeat.

Craig Hicks was forced to evade a supporter
Craig Hicks was forced to evade a supporter (Jess Hornby/PA)

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho condemned the behaviour of the supporter.

“First of all we don’t want to see any of that on a football pitch,” he said.

“It was a really bizarre incident.

“Thankfully nothing happened and the referee managed to evade the fan. Just very, very strange.”

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited pledged their full support to Hicks and released a joint statement of their own alongside the English Football League.

It read: “We are appalled by the incident in today’s League One fixture between Port Vale and Portsmouth which saw referee Craig Hicks chased off the field of play and condemn the mindless actions of the individual involved.

“Match officials should never feel threatened for their safety when playing a pivotal role in the staging of games in our competitions.

“We will provide our full support to Craig and his team alongside Port Vale and the relevant authorities as they seek to bring this individual to justice.”