Smoke bombs, firecrackers, missiles, fans on pitch, homophobia: accusations fly after Whitehawk v Littlehampton Town clash

Trouble marred the Whitehawk-Littlehampton matchTrouble marred the Whitehawk-Littlehampton match
Trouble marred the Whitehawk-Littlehampton match
Trouble has again marred a match between Littlehampton Town and Whitehawk.

Months after their Isthmian League south east division clash at Littlehampton was overshadowed by trouble and reports of abuse aimed at players, more flashpoints have occurred at today’s (Jan 14) return match at Whitehawk.

Whitehawk were first to issue a statement condemning some Littlehampton Town fans for letting off firecrackers and smoke bombs and coming on to the pitch and accusing them of homophobic abuse – but Littlehampton have responded with a statement of their own highlighting actions by BOTH sets of fans and have said a Littlehampton official was struck by a missile thrown by a Hawks fan.

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The match finished 3-1 to Littlehampton, and both sides had a man sent off.

First, after the match, came the Whitehawk statement, which said: “Whitehawk FC are saddened by the behaviour of a number of Littlehampton Town fans at today’s match, and apologise to our own supporters for what occurred.

"Despite the precautions we put in place, the match was marred by firecrackers, smoke bombs, flares, homophobic abuse, smashed chairs and fans entering the field of play.

"We wish to make clear there is no place for violence, bigotry and threatening behaviour within the beautiful game, and we are speaking to the opposition about what took place.

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“Whitehawk FC operate a zero tolerance policy towards any abuse at The Enclosed Ground and are fully committed to our indefatigable value that football is for all.

"We thank Sussex Police for their assistance in responding speedily and preventing any further disorder. We will provide an update in due course, and a full report will be issued to the Isthmian League and the Football Association.”

Later Littlehampton Town issued their own statement, which said: “Littlehampton Town FC are disappointed there have been several incidents involving BOTH sets of supporters at this afternoon's game at Whitehawk.

“We are bitterly disappointed at the use of smoke bombs and firecrackers when we have made it clear before that it is unacceptable and against the law to use them inside a football ground.

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“We have witnessed a missile thrown from a Whitehawk supporter which struck a Littlehampton Town committee member. In addition there were a number of Whitehawk fans who entered the field of play to confront our supporters during the game which esculated the situation.

“Our Safety Officer has already spoken with Sussex Police regarding the incidents and will continue to do so over the coming days. We shall also speak with Whitehawk FC over the next few days with regards to the incidents today.

“We shall make no further comment until we have spoken with all the relevant parties.”

On the pitch goals by Liam Hendy, Lucas Pattenden and George Gaskin earned the points for Littlehampton, who had Scott Packer sent off. Whitehawk’s goal came from Luke Robinson and they had Nathan Cooper sent off.

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Golds are eighth – three points and three places behind Whithawk.