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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 21 April, 2014

FA to investigate Villa Park flare incident

The incident occurred just after Andros Townsend had given Tottenham a 1-0 lead over the hosts.

Assistant referee David Bryan on the touchline after being hit by a flare.
Assistant referee David Bryan on the touchline after being hit by a flare.

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION will launch an investigation after assistant referee David Bryan was struck by a flare at Villa Park on Sunday.

The incident occurred just after Andros Townsend had given Tottenham a 1-0 lead over Aston Villa in a Premier League game that saw the London club go on to win 2-0.

Bryan was hit on the back of the head by the flare, which was thrown from the section of the ground allocated to Tottenham fans.

West Midlands Police have arrested two men, aged 25 and 47, and the FA will await a report from the match officials before deciding what action to take.

An FA spokesman said: “The FA will investigate this matter, which is unacceptable.

“We will await the match officials’ report and will be speaking to the clubs.

“Such incidents highlight the dangers of pyrotechnics being used in a football stadium.”

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas condemned the culprits and hopes action is taken to ensure such an incident is not seen again.

“It is not great to see,” said the Portuguese.

“It should be avoided completely. It touched the linesman and situations like this don’t have a place in football. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again.”

A 15-year-old boy needed hospital treatment after suffering lung damage as a result of a smoke bomb that was thrown during a clash between Wigan and Villa at the DW Stadium in May.

Two women also needed attention as a result of the same incident at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas was pleased with his side’s improvement during their win.

Despite taking the lead through Townsend after 31 minutes, Tottenham were frustrated by a determined Villa defence for periods during the first period.

However, Roberto Soldado eventually doubled the visitors’ lead after the break and Villas-Boas noted the improvement his side made in the second half.

“We struggled early on but got our act together,” he told Sky Sports. “It was difficult in the first minutes because Villa kept putting long balls in behind us.

But we got hold of the ball and started creating. “The second half was really good and after 2-0, we could have gone on to score more.”

Townsend’s goal was his first in the Premier League for the club, while close-season signing Soldado scored his first from open play in the English top flight.

And Villas-Boas was pleased with both players’ showings after Tottenham’s 3-0 defeat against West Ham last time out. “Andros is always a threat and he finished very strongly.

“He started not too well but improved during the game,” the Portuguese continued.

“Soldado made the most of the opportunities he had. After a setback at home we have to respond and I think we did it in a good fashion. We are in touch with the top and it’s a result we deserve.”

As it happened: Aston Villa v Tottenham, Premier League>

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