Sunderland’s Luke O’Nien struck by fan at Portsmouth

Sunderland defender Luke O’Nien says he will not be pressing charges despite confirming he was struck by a fan in Thursday’s play-off semi-final at Fratton Park.

In the second half of the game – which ended 0-0 – O’Nien disappeared over the advertising hoardings and into the crowd after tussling for the ball with Portsmouth’s Tom Naylor.

Sunderland battle into play-off final
As he tried to get up, O’Nien appeared to be struck on numerous occasions by a member of the crowd.

Speaking after Sunderland secured their place in the League One play-off final, O’Nien told Sky Sports: “I went over the board and he had a few digs at me, but that’s football and it’s fine.

“Police asked if I wanted to press charges, but that’s just football. When the whistle goes it’s just two teams going at it and two crowds going at it – that’s just part of it.

“There was a little bit of contact, but it was what it was. He didn’t hurt me in the end. I think he got arrested in the end, but he can have that one.”

After the incident, the referee and players from both sides ran over to diffuse the situation.

Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole exchanged words with the fan in question, who later attempted to climb over the barrier.

Jack Ross, the Sunderland manager, said: “I asked the fourth official and he said I think a supporter had swung an arm
at him, which isn’t great.

“I wouldn’t make too big a deal of it, not because we won the tie but simply because I enjoy coming here. I think it’s a proper football ground, really good fan base.

“One idiot shouldn’t spoil it or tarnish that fan group.

“Knowing Luke as a lad, I would be very, very confident that he hasn’t instigated anything because he’s far from that type of character.

“You can’t condone it but there are 18,000-plus people in this stadium tonight and the vast majority come here to support both teams and back them properly.”

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