John Coleman claims Rotherham United's game against Accrington Stanley should have been abandoned after ‘assault’ on player as Millers ban two supporters for life

Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman claimed his side's match at Rotherham United should have been abandoned after one of his players was assaulted before missing a late penalty in a 1-0 loss in South Yorkshire.

CROWD TROUBLE: At Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon. Picture: PA Wire.
CROWD TROUBLE: At Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon. Picture: PA Wire.

A dramatic end to the game saw Harry Pell's 89th-minute penalty saved by Josh Vickers, moments after two Rotherham fans had run onto the pitch with one appearing to strike Pell.

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The penalty was awarded after Richard Wood was sent off for handling inside the area and after a long delay in rounding up the pitch invaders, Pell’s effort easily gathered by Vickers.

CROWD TROUBLE: At Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon. Picture: PA Wire.

Mitch Clark struck the post late on as the Millers hung on, with Dan Barlaser's second-half goal enough for Paul Warne's side to claim victory.

Coleman, who confirmed Pell was the player he said was assaulted, said after: “I have never seen anything like that in my life. I was expecting the game to be abandoned.

“It is one of those situations where Pelly is desperate to take it because he has been assaulted as well. Was it the right thing to do? It’s easy to be wise after the event. He hasn’t meant to miss the penalty.

“I feel physically sick. I am beat and I have nothing more to offer. I can’t fight back. I can’t criticise. I am proud of how the players played today.

“It was a classic away performance. In the second half we gave everything we’ve got. We tested their keeper and hit the post late on. We didn’t deserve to lose the game, but we have.

“I am sure the authorities will do what they have to do.”

The incident was Rotherham's third incident of crowd misbehaviour in a month. Last week Millers manager Paul Warne called for a life ban for a fan who threw a missile at a linesman in an incident that marred Rotherham 's victory at Crewe Alexandra.

A statement from Rotherham regarding the most recent incident read: "Rotherham United are incredibly disappointed to once again be issuing a post-match statement to condemn the actions of two of our so-called supporters for their behaviour during our Sky Bet League One fixture against Accrington Stanley at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

"Following crowd-related incidents in the recent games against Fleetwood Town and Crewe Alexandra, which have subsequently been investigated, we are embarrassed to once again be commenting on the behaviour of some fans, who absolutely do not represent the majority or what we stand for as a club.

"On an afternoon on which we should be celebrating the team’s success on the field, we are disappointed to be commenting on the actions of individuals in the stand.

"The two culprits have been identified by the club and arrested for their actions by South Yorkshire Police. They will be banned permanently from AESSEAL New York Stadium and are no longer welcome at Rotherham United. The club will be making no further comment at this time."