Police have thanked “the vast majority” of supporters at today’s (Sunday February 4) Middlesbrough v Sunderland match at the Riverside Stadium.

Honours were even, on the pitch, after the Championship fixture between the North East play-off contenders ended 1-1, following Sunderland’s late equaliser from Ukrainian substitute Nazariy Rusyn.

It cancelled out Finnish forward Marcus Forss’ opening goal for Boro earlier in the second-half.

But off the pitch, other than, “a few people who were dealt with swiftly”, the police operation to maintain the peace appeared to prove successful.

The Northern Echo: Nazariy Rusyn fires home Sunderland's equaliser at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, today

Cleveland Police said out of an official match attendance of 31,716, four arrests were for suspected disorder and suspected assault of an emergency worker, while one man was moved on from a dedicated dispersal area.

A force statement said: “Following today’s match at the Riverside Stadium, thanks go to the vast majority of the Middlesbrough FC and Sunderland AFC fans who turned up and, as expected, behaved responsibly.

“There is always a minority who seek out disorder, and those few people were dealt with swiftly by officers, to try to prevent further incidents.

“Four people were arrested on suspicion of offences including public order and assaulting an emergency worker.

“One man was also ordered to leave the area using dispersal order powers.

“There has been significant planning in advance of today’s match, alongside both clubs, local authorities and transport providers, in order to resource this match appropriately and minimise disruption to members of the public.

The Northern Echo: Middlesbrough players and fans celebrate the opening goal of the game, scored by Marcus Forss

“Resources also included colleagues from Northumbria Police Mounted Section officers, British Transport Police, Durham Constabulary and volunteers from Cleveland Special Constabulary.”

Match-day policing commander, Temporary Superintendent Paul Richardson, said: “Our priory aim today has been to deliver an effective policing operation to help keep everyone safe,

“Working with both clubs, we also wanted to ensure an enjoyable day for those coming into Middlesbrough to watch the match, and minimise disruption to those within the town who were not necessarily coming into Middlesbrough for the football.

The Northern Echo:

“Today’s game resulted in four arrests with those people now being dealt with appropriately.

“Incidents were dealt with swiftly so that further disorder could be prevented.

For more Middlesbrough FC news from The Northern Echo, click here

For more Sunderland AFC news from The Northern Echo, click here

Police working to maintain order on Middlesbrough/Sunderland derby day

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“Thank you to both clubs and partners for their co-operation and pre-planning to help make today run smoothly.

"And, thanks, once again, to everyone who behaved responsibly and enjoyed the game as intended.”

The on-field result leaves both sides just outside the coveted top six play-off places in the Championship with three months of the season remaining.