A football team coach was sent off for brandishing a pitchfork during a half-time bust-up between local rivals in a north Wales league match.
Player-coach Keith Ainsworth, 35, grabbed the groundsman’s pitchfork as tempers flared in the game between Greenfield and Barmouth & Dyffryn Utd.
After the referee blew for half time, players began jostling and shoving each other near the dugouts.
Greenfield coach Ainsworth then grabbed the 3ft-long fork and started wielding it above his head.
He was sent off by the referee as around 100 shocked spectators watched on in the Lock Stock Welsh Alliance League.
Greenfield chairman Denny Hogan played down the incident as ‘handbags’ but Welsh football bosses are now investigating the unsavoury scuffle.
As players scuffled at half-time during the match between Welsh league match between Barmouth and Greenfield, the Greenfield coach Keith Ainsworth picked up a pitchfork
Greenfield chairman Denny Hogan played down the incident describing it as ‘handbags’
Mr Hogan said: ‘He just picked it up. He did not threaten it against anybody. It was just handbags.’
Mr Hogan said the ‘scuffle’ was sparked by a comment from a Barmouth player.
He said: ‘We had vandals trashing our changing rooms over a week ago and somebody from Barmouth allegedly made a comment about the damage.
‘That was said and there was a scuffle.’
He said it had been a ‘fiercely contested’ match with a Barmouth player being sent off in the second half.
A brawl started on the pitch after the referee blew for half time in the Welsh league match
One spectator said: ‘I was at one end and then as I started to walk back all hell broke loose.
‘One of the Barmouth players was on the ground, he looked like he’d been smacked in the nose. The Greenfield guys were dragging one guy away.
‘Then someone who appeared to be kitted up in the Greenfield kit who picked up the fork and appeared to be heading towards the other lot, but he was dragged back to the changing room.’
Barmouth chairman John Beaumont said: ‘I don’t know what caused it all to kick off. One of our players got a bloody nose and the referee sent one of the Greenfield officials off.’
A scuffle occurred in front of 100 spectators during the league match between Greenfield and Barmouth on Saturday
Keith Ainsworth picked up the pitchfork (right) during the melee that erupted at half time
The melee happened during Saturday’s Lock Stock Welsh Alliance League clash.
The League is just two levels down from the FAW’s flagship Welsh Premier competition.
Referee Richard Burge said: ‘As I blew to finish the first half, and was walking back to the dressing room there was an argument between the two dug-outs and a flare-up which finished as soon as it had started.
‘In that flare-up, the person who was part of the Greenfield squad did pick up a garden implement and used it in a threatening manner.
‘The person I reported from Greenfield was dismissed from the ground on my recommendation.
‘It was over as soon as it started. We call it handbags.
‘This fella who picked up the implement will be subject to a Welsh FA disciplinary action and he will be given the opportunity to give his story.’
Greenfield won the match 3-1.
Ainsworth, nicknamed Tino, is club captain.
A profile on the club’s website says: ‘Tino is the club captain and leads by example. Always gives 100 per cent, is dominant in the air.’
Close on 100 spectators were shocked as half-time chaos ensued, with one Barmouth player reportedly left with a bleeding nose on the turf with a crowd gathering around him
The two clubs have been told to give an explanation about why the incident happened.
Once the reports are in, the matter will be dealt with by an FAW disciplinary panel.
League secretary Ron Bridges, himself an FAW council member, confirmed: ‘Because of the nature of the incident it is being handled by the FAW. The clubs will have seven days to respond.
‘Only after it has been dealt with fully by the FAW could we look at it as a League, if that were necessary.’