Clubs face FA quiz over flare

A steward carries a flare that was thrown onto the pitch during the Emirates FA Cup, First Round match at the Merseyrail Community Stadium

A steward carries a flare that was thrown onto the pitch during the Emirates FA Cup, First Round match at the Merseyrail Community Stadium

The Football Association will quiz both Fleetwood Town and Southport after flares were thrown onto the pitch during

their televised FA Cup tie.

The first round tie between the two clubs on Monday evening was halted when smoke bombs were flung from the crowd, some landing close to Town keeper Chris Neal.

Red and yellow torches were lobbed onto the Haig Avenue pitch, from an area occupied by Southport fans.

Referee Darren England was forced to halt the action, in the televised tie, with 10 minutes to play.

Action in the 0-0 draw was only resumed once security staff had removed the burning flares from the penalty area.

The FA today said it was looking into the incident and both clubs would be consulted, although the trouble appeared to be at the Southport end.

A spokesman said: “We are aware and will be contacting the club for their observations in relation to the incident.”

Fleetwood and Southport were rivals in non-league football, the clubs slugging it out over a three-year period during Town’s meteoric rise.

Before the FA Cup tie, screened on BT Sport, Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley admitted there had been ‘rivalry’ between the two North West clubs, dating back to the time Southport pipped Fleetwood to the Conference North title. Tensions were high during back-to-back festive clashes in the 2011-12 campaign.

The Fleetwood chairman insisted before the tie such needle was a thing of the past.

He said: “I think there certainly was (bad blood); I have got to say though now that it is quite the opposite.”

Jimmy Ryan hit the woodwork but Fleetwood could not find a way past their National League hosts.

The sides will face each other again, a second round tie awaiting the winner of replay, expected to be played at Highbury on Tuesday.