Updated: York City are on their way to Wembley – but celebrations were marred by ugly scenes when Luton Town fans hurled missiles at players and supporters.

Star striker Richard Brodie was struck by a coin and players retreated into the stands for safety after yobs invaded the pitch, following City’s victory in the Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final at Kenilworth Road.

Thugs also tried to attack coaches waiting to take York fans home after the game, but were eventually held back by riot police.

York City chairman Jason McGill said the “very dreadful scenes” had taken the gloss off a memorable day, while Luton Town chairman Nick Owen apologised to York City and said he expected his club to face repercussions.

‘I’ve never been so frightened’

RIOTING Luton Town fans hurled missiles at York City fans and players following the Minstermen’s Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final victory – and then launched further attacks outside the ground.

Star striker Richard Brodie was struck by a £1 coin and was almost hit by a corner flag pole, and the players had to retreat for their own safety to the stands where the York fans were sitting as police and stewards battled to control the yobs.

But the trouble also spilled out of the stadium as Luton fans targeted coaches lining up to take York fans home, with the drivers ordered by police to reverse down a road to get away.

Coach driver Janine Harris, of Anytime Travel, driving a minibus full of York fans, said: “I have never been so frightened. They surrounded the minibus. The police were outnumbered until the riot police arrived.

“They trashed a shop and just threw anything they could get their hands on towards the coaches.”

Brodie said he had been hit by a coin but not badly hurt. “It all happened so quickly,” he said.

“We went over to our fans to celebrate and then we turned round to see the Luton fans coming towards us. The police ushered us into the stands to help us get away.”

Luton Town chairman Nick Owen apologised to his City counterparts. Mr Owen said: “It was devastating to see what happened on the pitch after the game. It’s absolutely dreadful and you just can’t condone that and most of our fans would never condone that.”

The former Breakfast Time television presenter promised an investigation by his club into the pitch invasion and loutish scenes, and said “no doubt” there would be one from the authorities as well, and he expected Luton to face repercussions.

York City chairman Jason McGill, who witnessed the scenes from the directors’ box, said they had “taken the gloss” off a memorable day.

“They were very dreadful scenes,” he said. “I was very nervous for our supporters and our players. Richard Brodie was hit by a £1 coin and a few other players were hit by missiles. But everyone is safe.”

He said City would now wait to see if the “proper authorities” report recommended any punitive action.

City manager Martin Foyle, who had got down the players’ tunnel before the Luton fans spilled on to the pitch near the tunnel, said he had never heard of players being penned at the back of the stand.

Acting Insp Phil McCarthy, of Bedfordshire Police, said there had been a number of arrests, befor, during and after the match.

Players forced into the stand

Steve Carroll describes what he saw when rioting broke out.

HANDS covered heads and T-shirts and tracksuit tops offered the only protection as a hail of missiles arrowed its way towards the York fans.

This should have been a time of celebration for the Minstermen’s players and supporters. Instead, we were transported back to the dark days of the 1980s.

Coins, cans and even a flagpole were hurled as hundreds of Luton fans pressed hard against a flimsy line of police and stewards who struggled – valiantly – to prevent the mob getting into the away stand.

The players were driven into the stand for their own protection and, as they tried to make their way to the safety of the dressing room, there was another surge of venom from the spitting crowd in front of the stand.

It was frightening, scary. I, along with the York City directors standing just a few rows behind, watched in horror as the mayhem unfolded.

It was a day football thought had been left far behind. How wrong we were.

NICOLA FIFIELD saw trouble even before the match.

EVEN before the match kicked off, I was fearing for my safety after I got caught in the middle of a skirmish between rival fans near a pub only a short distance from the ground.

A wooden chair and a glass bottle were just some of the items hurled across the street by jeering supporters and police had to move in quickly to separate the two groups. But this was nothing compared to the riotous scenes that were to follow when the final whistle blew.

York fan James Waterson told me his friend had left the stand with a bloody gash on his face after being hit by a coin. To the credit of City fans, I didn’t see any retaliate. Instead, they were full of disgust at what they had seen.

If what happened inside the ground was bad enough, things got even worse outside. In one incident, Luton Town fans ransacked the display stands outside a DIY shop and pelted the police with brooms, mops, flip flops and plants.

More on this story to follow...

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