Tempers flared as a pre-season friendly between Grantham Town and Stamford was abandoned before half-time on Thursday night, with players involved in what has been described as a “handbags brawl”.
Stamford were two goals up shortly before half-time in the local derby, but some “nasty challenges” had already been made according to Stamford manager Graham Drury.
The match then got a bit heated and what was initially described as a 22 man brawl ensued. It was then abandoned, although there is some confusion as to whether the decision was made by the referee or Drury.
The immediate aftermath of the incident was captured on video:
Looks like the gaffer has taken the Stamford players off after some shocking tackles by Grantham and a huge melee pic.twitter.com/5ppIJkRjQf
— Stamford Goals (@GoalsStamford) August 27, 2020
Grantham Town manager Martin McIntosh told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “I don’t think it was the referee that called it off. I think Graham (Stamford’s manager) has come onto the pitch and he said he didn’t want to carry on any longer due to the fact that he’d had a couple of (injuries).”
He added: “From Graham’s point of view he wanted to stop the match because he’s got the FA Cup in two weeks time, he’s already got a couple of injuries and he might have another two tonight (Thursday), so if he’d got any more from a manager’s point of view I completely understand him and I respect that he wanted to finish the game when he did.
“I’m disappointed, some of my players were disappointed, we wanted to carry on, but I think in the tackles it did show that we are definitely fitnesswise slightly behind, we weren’t quite as sharp as the Stamford boys to be fair to them.”
To all stamford fans at tonight's game sorry about the game being cut short both managers and ref decided it was the right decision to call a halt to the game conditions becoming dangerous. I will personal by any fan that feels cut short tonight a drink in the bar v pboro sports
— Graham D (@gdrury71) August 27, 2020
Stamford manager Drury said there were “maybe five or six nasty challenges from the opposition”.
He said: “Obviously we’ve got three lads injured and I can’t afford to be going into an FA Cup game with 10 players, but the conditions played their part, it’s really wet, it’s really slippery. The referee’s abandoned the game due to the conditions and before the game got out of control.”
Two Stamford fans told Lincolnshire Reporter that they were disappointed in the opposition.
Ryan Challi Green said both teams ran towards each other and there was pushing and a lot of shouting.
He said: “We outplayed them and were clearly the better side and they obviously didn’t take that well, so they resorted to playing dirty, which for a pre-season game there’s no need for it.
“Yes, it’s a derby but you shouldn’t go out to hurt the opponents, so the players reacted to it and rightly so, scummy Grantham.”
Henry M said: “A game against Grantham is a local derby anyway, but a few tackles from their players were completely out of place in a pre-season friendly.
“I think two of our players went off injured before it got called off. Next thing there was a bit of handbags and Graham Drury, Stamford manager, came over to us fans and told us the game was off. Right decision in the end.”