Wimbledon player handed ban for kicking ball at rival fans

Harry Pell has also been fined £1,000  (Getty Images)
Harry Pell has also been fined £1,000 (Getty Images)

An AFC Wimbledon player has been given a one-match ban after kicking the ball at fans of rivals MK Dons ahead of their League Two fixture.

Video footage shared on social media appeared to show Harry Pell deliberately targeting away supporters as he warmed up at Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday 2 March.

Pell could be seen taking several shots in the direction of goal but missing by a significant margin, prompting a complaint to the Football Association (FA) from MK Dons.

The 32-year-old admitted that he had behaved in an improper manner, with the FA fining him £1,000 for misconduct and levying a ban.

“I accept that my actions on 2nd March were not befitting of a professional footballer,” Pell said in a statement to the FA. “The situation got the better of me and I responded inappropriately to the away support.

“My ‘shots’ were not struck with power but were intended more as a playful response to the verbal abuse from some of the spectators.

“Sending the ball into the stands was a ‘rush of blood’ reaction – on mature reflection, I should have simply ignored the shouts and got on with my warm-up.

“Fully understanding now the impact my actions may have had on the individuals effected (even though done without malice) and mindful of my professional responsibilities, I admit the charge. I accept my actions were improper.

“I would also wish to apologise unreservedly to anyone who was hurt in any way, and to The Football Association.”

Wimbledon won the League Two clash 1-0 after a stoppage time winner from Ronan Curtis.

Ronan Curtis scored a stoppage time winner for Wimbledon (Getty Images)
Ronan Curtis scored a stoppage time winner for Wimbledon (Getty Images)

A fracas between players and coaching staff from both clubs after the full-time whistle has resulted in fines of £8,000 (Wimbledon) and £2,500 (MK Dons) respectively.

The rivalry between the two clubs stems from Wimbledon FC’s relocation to Milton Keynes in 2003, with a number of supporters of the London club choosing not to continue their fandom.

Disaffected fans started AFC Wimbledon, a new club who reached the Football League in 2011.

MK Dons sit fourth in League Two, three places and ten points ahead of their rivals.