People at a football game threw flares and missiles at the opposition goalkeeper with an official calling it “an embarrassment”.

Supporters in the Crawley Town South Stand were seen setting light to the pyrotechnics and targeted the Tranmere Rovers keeper under the cover of the ensuing smoke.

Crawley’s safety officer said he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident, calling it one of the worst incidents he had seen in 30 years of working in football.

Chris Baker, Crawley Town’s safety officer, added: “Being new to the club I was shocked and saddened at the behaviour of a small minority of the crowd, I won’t call them supporters.

“If these people were genuine supporters like the rest of the amazing fans they wouldn’t put our club at risk of fines and points deductions.

“Worryingly it is reported that some of the teenagers using flares are giving them to small children to bring into the stadium because children are not searched. This is highly irresponsible.”

The club also added that one young fan suffered an asthma attack due to the smoke.

The referee also reportedly considered abandoning the game for the safety of the players.


People who were involved will receive a minimum one-year ban from matches at Broadfield.

Pyrotechnics have become an increasing issue in English football following an uptick in crowd disturbances in recent years.

Crawley say they expect to face sanctions after the incident targeting Tranmere stopper Luke McGee including a £20,000 fine, and potentially playing games behind closed doors.

Baker also pointed that out that points deductions could have been “catastrophic” with Crawley narrowly avoiding dropping out of the football league.

Crawley won the match 3-2, with the flares and missiles coming after a 61st minute equaliser.

The club confirmed they would be making changes to the South Stand for the club’s next home game against Sutton United in a fortnight.

The changes include closing a section of the walkway at the front of the stand.

Sussex Police were approached for comment about the incident.