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Manchester City pitch invader banned for 3 years

Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Joe Hart confronts a pitch invader during the Manchester derby on Dec. 9.

A Manchester City fan who stormed onto the pitch at Etihad Stadium during the Manchester derby last month was banned from attending matches for three years on Friday.

Matthew Stott had to be restrained by City goalkeeper Joe Hart from confronting United defender Rio Ferdinand, who was already bleeding from a cut caused by a coin thrown from the stands as he celebrated Robin van Persie's late goal to clinch a 3-2 win in the Premier League match on Dec. 9.

The 21-year-old Stott pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates' Court to encroaching on the field of play and using insulting words or behavior.

The season ticket holder, who said he had drunk eight pints of lager before the match, was also given a 56-day jail term that was suspended for a year.

"He chose to attack somebody on a football pitch,'' District Judge Paul Richardson said. "But for the timely and appropriate intervention of the City goalkeeper, the situation would have been a lot worse and could have triggered a serious incident of disorder.''

Stott's lawyer said his client couldn't remember the incident during the internationally televised game and has since paid the price for his actions.

"He's lost his job, he's received death threats and his family has suffered intimidation by members of the public; in person, by telephone, camping outside his father's flat, and threats on Facebook,'' Rebecca Caulfield said.

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