Category: Non-League Football
Hartlepool United Release Statement Following Racism Towards Dover Players

Hartlepool United have released a statement following in incident of racist abuse towards Dover Athletic players on Saturday afternoon.

Following the first goal of the afternoon from Inih Effong, the Dover squad were met with racist abuse from a section of the Hartlepool support during their celebrations.

The main victims of the abuse seemed to be winger Ricky Modeste and Effiong.

A break ensued and players, managers and officials from both sides meeting with stewards before fans were ejected from the ground and play resumed.

Shortly after the match, Hartlepool United Chief Executive Mark Maguire used a club statement to say:

“I can honestly say that I have never witnessed a game of football like that, but it is important that we separate our reaction to the game, and the officials, to the events following Dover’s first goal.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision, or the aftermath to the penalty which was scored, Hartlepool United utterly condemn racist behaviour of any description.

“We are a proudly inclusive as a Club, and we know that the vast majority of Pools fans will join us in standing up against words and actions which have no place in football or society.

“As I understand it, in this, the early stages after the event, individuals have been identified and will be dealt with in the strongest possible manner by both the Club and police.

“Equally, I personally spoke to the people on the receiving end of the abuse, assuring them that we would take the necessary action.

“We also made a public announcement at half time, setting out our condemnation of such behaviour, whilst I also spoke with the Chairman of Dover to offer my apology.

“As a Club we will protect the principles held by the vast majority of our fan base who would be insulted by their reputation being tarnished in this manner.

“In these type of circumstances actions speak louder than words and we will be judged accordingly.

“On days like today, Directors, Management and staff of both clubs have a responsibility to stand up and be counted, and we have no hesitation in reacting in the strongest possible manner.

“Of a completely separate nature is any concern surrounding events on and off the pitch during and immediately after the game, and we will deal with this accordingly with the appropriate authorities.”

Hartlepool United 0-2 Dover Athletic

Dover Athletic came away from their long trip to the North East with three points on Saturday, but horrific scenes in the stands marred an entertaining, yet controversial match.

Enih Effiong scored the opening goal of the game from the spot after he was hacked down on 37 minutes and Steve Rigg bundled a second with seven minutes remaining.

Racist abuse followed the celebrations for the first goal which, alongside a number of bad refereeing decisions, sent tensions soaring; resulting in two Pools red card in the second half.

Dover knew a win would give them a comfortable playoff position after 12 matches and both teams set out to attack from the start.

A high paced start to the game resulted in very few clear-cut chances in the opening 20 minutes. A free kick from the hosts’ Liam Noble flew over and Ricky Modeste was able to convert a header at the far post from a corner.

Pools soon picked up the pace and they had a penalty shout turned down on 28 minutes. A long free kick from Noble drifted towards Michael Raynes who fell under the pressure of two Dover defenders but the referee waved away their appeals.

The scoring was to open with a spot kick, but not in the way of the hosts. Effiong was brought to the floor before dusting himself down and calmly slotted the penalty into the top corner.

Dover’s celebrations were met by a torrent of abuse with numerous players on both sides visibly frustrated by a small number of fans in the stand behind the goal. A major discussion including stewards, the referee and players occurred before play restarted following at least one home fan being escorted from the ground.

Another penalty call in the opening moments of the second half further frustrated the home crowd. Nicke Kabamba was brought to the floor by Will De Havilland, only for the referee to yet again wave away any claims.

Kabamba had another chance on 57 minutes but his effort from close range was well saved by Lee Worgan. More Pools pressure followed with Gime Toure slipping past two defenders before hammering a shot onto the post.

The search for the equaliser was agonising for Pools with Dover putting their bodies n the line to keep their lead. The crowd roared with every challenge as the game flowed from end to end. After being set up for a half volley, Effiong smashed a shot against the bar before Toure was clearly tripped in the area, only for the referee to, yet again, wave away any penalty shouts.

Chaos followed the controversial decision with Ryan Donaldson being sent off for a second yellow card for dissent with home boss Craig Hignett also being given his marching orders.

To add to the frustration of the home side, Dover scored a second in the 83rd minute. Effiong did well to burst into the box and lay a low ball into a crowd of bodies. The ball rolled into the back of the net with Steve Rigg wheeling away in celebration.

The action wasn’t over though, and Hartlepool were to end the game with nine men after Nicky Featherstone was given a straight red card his dissatisfaction toward the referee in injury time.

Hartlepool United: Killip, Kioso, Richardson (James, 73), Raynes, Cunningham, Kitching, Mafuta, Noble (Featherstone, 78), Donaldson, Toure, Kabamba

Subs not used: Kennedy, Holohan, Hawkes

Dover Athletic: Worgan, Passley (Taylor, 46), De Havilland, Doe, Simpson, Woods, Cumberbatch, Reason, Rigg (Rooney, 88), Effiong, Modeste

Subs not used: L’Ghoul, Mersin,  Lokko

Goals: Effiong (37), Rigg (83)

Attendance: 3,329 (56 away)

Referee: Mr J Johnson

Assistant referees: Mr M Chester and Mr J Rhodes

Fourth Official: Mr C Ellis