A football hooligan who hurled a fencing panel at rival fans during a Boxing Day derby that descended into chaos has narrowly avoided jail

Daniel Gosnold was arrested after a 1-1 draw between Spennymoor Town and Darlington FC on December 26, 2021 when the festive clash turned sour as fans started throwing objects at each other.

Four police officers and several fans were injured in the commotion.

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Gosnold, 43 of Park Crescent, Darlington, ripped a wooden panel from a fence and threw it at Spennymoor supporters.

He was later charged with affray, destroying property and two counts of assaulting an emergency worker.

The former doorman initially denied charges of affray and criminal damage at a hearing at Durham Crown Court in October last year, but on Friday (July 28) he changed his plea to the affray charge to guilty.,

The other three counts - criminal damage and two of assaulting an emergency worker - were ‘left to lie on the file’.

He was handed a 16-month jail term, suspended for two years, and banned from attending any football game in the UK for the next three years.

If he was to reoffend in the next two years he could end up behind bars.

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He will also have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work for the affray and pay a total of £556 in costs and a victim surcharge.

Darlington FC said it "fully supports" the action taken by Durham Police.

A statement released on the club's website reads: "The club condemns any sort of misbehaviour at home and away matches, and we remind supporters that when they travel away from home to watch us play, they are representing the club and should be on their best behaviour.

"We will continue to take action against supporters who are proven to have misbehaved, and we urge our responsible fans to report such activity to the club."

Chief Inspector, Stephanie Bird, of Durham Constabulary, said: “Football fans, players and those who work during matches deserve to do so safely and the behaviour witnessed from fans on both sides during this match was completely unacceptable.

“I hope this sentence serves as a warning that this disgraceful behaviour will not be tolerated and we will pursue charges for anyone else involved in this criminal activity, past or present.”