Bristol Rovers reported to the FA over pitch invasion and Scunthorpe United goalkeeper incident

Joey Barton’s side grabbed promotion in dramatic fashion but the Pirates may be in hot water after supporters spilled onto the pitch during the final minutes.
Aaron Collins of Bristol Rovers scores their side's sixth goal.Aaron Collins of Bristol Rovers scores their side's sixth goal.
Aaron Collins of Bristol Rovers scores their side's sixth goal.

Bristol Rovers will likely face an FA charge after the 86th minute pitch invasion in their final game of the League Two season.

The Gas grabbed the last automatic promotion place when they hit seven goals past Scunthorpe United on Saturday afternoon, but referee Charles Breakspear suspended the game when Gashead supporters ran onto the pitch following Elliot Anderson’s 85th minute headed goal.

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The match was then delayed by 15 minutes as order was restored, while Joey Barton and owner Wael al Qadi appealed to the fans to remain in the stands.

And following the game Iron manager Keith Hill was asked by reporters from Radio Humberside about the late events, as well as whether his goalkeeper Owen Foster had been punched when supporters ran onto the pitch, as the player seemed to indicate to the referee himself.

“I don’t really want to talk about it. The referee’s done a report and I want to leave it with them. I don’t want to spoil what is a tremendous day for Bristol Rovers and Joey,” said Hill after the game.

“I don’t want it to be sour grapes but we have got a duty of care to our young players on the pitch and players on the pitch.

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“I spoke about this less than two or three weeks ago. About the health and safety of me and my staff in my technical area during the course of the game, and with respect to what did happen, the referee is going to file a report to the FA.

“I can’t really divulge what happened [and if Foster was punched] and I don’t surmise and don’t want to comment on the actual facts, but everything will be revealed in due course,” added Hill.

The Iron boss, meanwhile, called his side 'hopeless' following the heavy defeat, that saw Rovers equal their biggest ever margin of victory.

Scunthorpe United depart the Football League after 72 years in the top four divisions of English football.

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"We got a footballing lesson and there's no doubt about that," Hill explained.

"I wanted them to enjoy this experience but from a footballing perspective they [Rovers] were miles better than us. They've done it over 46 games of the season. We haven't.

"Because of the [transfer] embargo, it's evident that ourselves and Oldham have been cut adrift somewhat this season.

"I hate losing and I've hated listening to them celebrate today. It's not happened to me in my career before.

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"We have to change the culture and make sure we breed a winning environment to turn things around," said Hill of his team’s own future chances of returning to League Two, adding that “100 per cent” he wants to remain in charge at Glanford Park.

The visiting manager may take some inspiration from the way Joey Barton has turned things around at the Mem.

It was confirmed earlier in the day that Barton had even offered to resign at one point during the Rovers season, which has now ended in glorious promotion.

“Joey’s right [that you can’t take shortcuts in football] and he witnessed it last season in Bristol. It was a difficult journey for him, outspoken at times, and people were questioning his footballing ability,” said Hill.

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“He gets the recruitment right and the pre-season right and the rest is history.”

Meanwhile Cobblers boss Jon Brady told BBC Radio Northampton that having the last promotion spot snatched away in the last minutes was tough to take.

“It’s pretty hard to comprehend now. We were excellent,” he said. “To go 3-0 up was the perfect start. We’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for the play-offs now.

On hearing Scunthorpe had fielded a young team, he said:

“I don’t want to say anything on the matter. We need to look forward. Whatever is done is done, whether it’s right or wrong.”

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