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Man arrested after Sheff Utd's Sharp attacked during pitch invasion



A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp appeared to be attacked when Nottingham Forest fans spilled onto the pitch at the end of their Championship play-off semi-final win at the City Ground on Tuesday night.

The Blades overturned a two-goal deficit to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate and force extra-time and penalties, but their spirited fightback was extinguished in the shootout when goalkeeper Brice Samba saved three spot-kicks to send Forest to Wembley.

Forest jubilation at the prospect of ending their 23-year absence from the Premier League, providing they beat Huddersfield in the final on May 29, spilled from the stands into a pitch invasion which was overshadowed by an unprovoked attack on Blades striker Sharp.

Sharp, who was injured and did not feature for Sheffield United in the play-off semi-final second leg, watched on from the touchline as the Forest supporters celebrated their 3-2 penalty shootout victory before appearing to be blind-sided by a charging supporter.

Nottinghamshire Police's chief inspector Paul Hennessy said: "A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. He remains in custody and will be questioned by officers.

"Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation."

Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, condemned the incident, telling Sky Sports after the game: "I watch every Monday Night Football, every Super Sunday, my time up in Scotland, there has been so many people talking about seeing things thrown on the pitch, fans invading the pitch, seeing things that put players' health and safety in danger.

"We've seen it. We know what has happened. It's bang out of order. We're the ones that suffer. It's upsetting for a lot of reasons."

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