Braintree Town involved in crowd trouble at Salford City

Braintree Town’s 2-2 draw with Salford City was marred by crowd trouble outside the Peninsula Stadium afterwards.

Rory Gaffney set the pace for the League leaders by scoring in the first minute. Mohamed Bettamer then levelled the scores from the penalty spot just before half-time.

The 25-year-old striker scored his second midway through the second half but Gaffney scored in added time to deny Braintree their second win of the season.

However, the valuable point gained was spoiled by incidents of crowd trouble after the game.

Having been segregated throughout the game, the travelling 40-60 Iron supporters were directed away from the 2,710 strong home support towards their coach. Despite the segregation, a Club Statement revealed the extent of the altercation.

“The Braintree Town supporters were immediately confronted by a group of home supporters who then set about them.

“The witnesses state that they were subjected to severe intimidation and physical assault.”

Iron Chairman Lee Harding said: “I asked to speak to the Safety Officer or a senior steward and was met with an abusive response. I replied that I was the visiting Club chairman and concerned about the well-being of our supporters.

“I then spent a few minutes explaining their responsibilities as stewards, especially reminding them of the need to keep segregated groups of supporters apart, even after a game had finished. One man shook his head at me and walked away. However one steward did then apologise for the problems and advised that they had only just started stewarding games there and were still learning.

“After ensuring that Braintree supporters were safely back on their coach I then met with the Salford City chairman. I explained to her what I had seen and what I had been told had happened. I advised that I would be contacting both the League and The FA on Monday and would copy my comments to her.

“In my experience, Braintree supporters rarely seek confrontation and will have been a little subdued after conceding a late equaliser. The stewarding arrangements for a crowd approaching 3,000 did appear to be lacking and those that were ‘in position’ did appear to be inexperienced. Those stewards or staff that I spoke with were either confrontational or struggling to meet their basic responsibilities.

“That this sort of incident should happen on Non-League day, a celebration of the game at our level, is also a matter of regret.”

Salford City, co-owned by former Manchester United players Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, have reportedly had crowd trouble in the past following a previous incident after the match against Hartlepool in September – although this is understood to have involved people who had not been attending the matches involved.

Salford City have been approached for comment but are yet to respond.