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Coleman's fury over cup clash

ANGRY Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman has threatened to take legal action after trouble flared at this week's vital cup tie.

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JOHN Coleman in the dug-out during the first half of the match.

ANGRY Reds boss John Coleman has threatened to take legal action after trouble flared at this week's vital cup tie.

The Stanley manager is set to take advice - saying he was unfairly blamed for a half-time incident involving a steward at the FA Cup clash against Second Division Colchester. He said he did not behave inappropriately after questioning a penalty decision by the referee.

Coleman, who quizzed ref Phil Joslin after the half-time whistle, said: "The referee said 'no' and then I spoke to the linesman and he said it wasn't a penalty. I said fine and went down the tunnel to go into the dressing room.''

Seconds later, trouble flared when Coleman said he was approached by a steward. But denying some reports that he had lashed out during the Reds' 2-1 defeat, he added: "The police asked me to make a statement. I haven't thrown any punches.''

He said some newspapers had misinterpreted photos of him during the clash, claiming: "One said a picture of Jimmy Bell with the police was one of me being restrained by the police. It wasn't like that.''

Primary school teacher Coleman, who was sent to the stands for the second half, added: "I am having a word with a solicitor and also talking to the Lancashire Constabulary officers who went down to Colchester. I don't know what will happen, but I am going to see what grounds I have. It is madness."

Stanley chairman Eric Whalley said: "The Colchester directors and staff were excellent and we were looked after brilliantly. It was just one steward involved in the incident and he seemed to have disappeared just after half-time. We never saw him again."

Essex Constabulary's Insp-ector Paul Fieldsend, in charge of the police operation at the ground, said: "As far as I am aware, the incident has been dealt with by the referee, who has written it into his report to the Football Association. There is no on-going police investigation."

And he heaped praise on the Stanley fans, adding: "Colchester had the largest crowd of the season because it was the FA Cup and because of the history surrounding Accrington Stanley."

Colchester chief executive Marie Partner said she was confident the steward involved did nothing wrong, adding: "The referee's report will be sent to the FA and I gather they will report to us if they feel there is something we need to deal with." She continued: "It is a regrettable incident in what was a really great game. The match was well controlled and was one that saw great support from both sets of fans."