AN ALBION fan has been given a banning order for punching a steward after a last-minute goal against Crystal Palace.
Connor Gill celebrated Brighton and Hove Albion’s late equaliser against their rivals at the Amex stadium on January 14 this year.
He remained standing on his seat in the north stand and became abusive towards stewards who asked him to sit down.
Stewards asked to see the 22-year-old’s match ticket and he refused, before attempting to exit the stadium.
After he was stopped by a steward, Gill punched the steward twice in the face before running from the concourse.
He was detained by police officers who arrested him on suspicion of assault.
In custody, officers found Gill, a plumber, in possession of a bag of cocaine, and he was further arrested.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Gill, of Waverley Crescent, Brighton, was sentenced to 40 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a £96 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.
The court also imposed a three-year banning order, which prohibits him from attending any football matches held in England and Wales.
It also bans him from attending the England men's football team games and restricts his ability to travel abroad when games are being held.
Sussex Police dedicated football officer police constable Darren Balkham said: “Gill admitted being drunk when the incident happened and was also in possession of a Class A drug.
“He carried out a nasty assault on match day staff after being abusive to them, then tried to run away to avoid the consequences.
“While we appreciate emotions can run high during football fixtures, there is no place for this kind of violence in our beautiful game.
“This case demonstrates that we will prosecute when fans behaviour crosses the line.”
A Brighton and Hove Albion spokesman said: “We welcome the verdict and thank Sussex Police and the court for their support in prosecuting the offender. This was an extremely serious offence, and we take assault of our staff very seriously.
“We have always made very clear that we have a zero tolerance policy towards the verbal or physical abuse or assault of the club’s staff, and that we will take very strong action against anyone responsible for such behaviour.
"So in addition to the punishment handed down by the court, he will also face an indefinite ban from all home and away Brighton & Hove Albion fixtures.
“Thankfully, the member of our staff who was assaulted was not seriously injured and has made a full recovery.”