Bolsover football yob given banning order after punching Bury goalkeeper Cameron Belford

A schoolboy who invaded a football pitch and punched the opposing team’s goalkeeper in the face has been spared custody.

The Spireites fan from the Bolsover area admitted assaulting Bury keeper Cameron Belford during a League 2 game at Chesterfield’s B2Net stadium in April.

Chesterfield youth court imposed a three-year football banning order, making him the youngest person in Derbyshire to receive such an order.

Presiding magistrate Linda Brooks said the bench had spared him custody because of his age and lack of any previous convictions.

She handed him a one-year referral order, with £100 compensation to Mr Belford and £85 costs.

A large number of fans ran onto the pitch after Chesterfield scored an equalising goal in the match, which Bury went on to win 3-2.

“Mr Belford said he felt general jostling and he then felt a direct blow of medium force to the right side of his face,” said Helen Griffiths, prosecuting.

“This caused him worry and concern because he had recently been treated for a fractured right cheekbone and had had a plate inserted.

“He didn’t see who punched him. He suffered a small cut to his right eyebrow and swelling and tenderness around the eye and cheekbone,” said Mrs Griffiths.

The goalkeeper felt able to play the rest of the game. The incident attracted national publicity and the boy later handed himself in to police.

During an interview he said the victim had been “winding up” Chesterfield fans and behaving in a “cocky” fashion towards the crowd after making saves.

But he accepted that did not justify his actions, which he agreed were wrong.

Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson said in mitigation that the boy’s father had encouraged him to go to matches to get him out of the house.

“His parents describe his normal activities as quite boring. He plays on his X-Box, does his homework, and occasionally goes out with a couple of friends.

“He had been to four or five games before this match. Chesterfield scored and he suddenly and stupidly went on the pitch,” said Mr Tomlinson.

He added: “That was bad enough but why he went up to the goalkeeper and punched him is beyond his family’s comprehension.

“He can’t understand it himself. He has written letters of apology to both football clubs and he has decided he won’t be going to football matches in any event.”

A school report shown to magistrates commented that he was “a pleasure to teach” and neighbours also wrote positive references on his behalf.

The teenager, who cannot be identified, told the court: “It’s hard to come to terms with it - I just got carried away.”

His parents said the offence had shocked the family and caused them great upset and disappointment. His father said: “He’s a good lad really. It was totally out of character.”