A FATHER who broke the jaw of a promising North-East football star in an unprovoked attack on the pitch pleaded guilty to the offence last night.

James Brown, of Hewitson Road South, Darlington, admitted causing grievous bodily harm to former Darlington striker Garry Williamson after he ran on to the field during a Sunday league match on March 3 this year.

Darlington Magistrates Court heard that the 42-year-old, a member of the coaching staff of the opposition team, struck the footballer with a single blow to the face.

The punch was so powerful it fractured the 20-year-old's jaw in three places and needed permanent plates to be inserted.

Mr Williamson, now a semi-professional player with Shildon FC, said last night that though the attack had been horrific he had now recovered.

Mr Brown was banned for a year by Durham Football Association.

The attack, which left spectators stunned, happened at a league match between Mr Williamson's team, Spraire RA, and close rivals East End Working Men's Club, at Darlington Railway Athletic Club.

The court heard that there had been a long-standing rivalry between the two teams, which had come to a head on a previous occasion, with an incident involving most of the players.

Toby Thomas, prosecuting, said the assault was totally unprovoked.

Steven Andrews, defending, said: "Mr Brown for a number of years has been subject to racial abuse that has been reported to the local FA ,who are investigating. He quite simply lost his temper. It was a single blow, there was no suggestion of head butting or kicking."

However, Durham Football Association said last night it was not investigating any claims of racial abuse.

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports until November 28