ANXIOUS Reading boss Veljko Paunovic feared for the safety of his players after they faced supporters on the pitch after their shocking FA Cup loss at Kidderminster.
Ecstatic Kiddy supporters flocked to Aggborough pitch full-time to celebrate the infamous 2-1 giant murder act of the Sixth Division National League North team.
However, what started as a happy outpouring of emotions quickly turned sour after some home fans goaded Reading fans, who came onto the pitch to face them,
Scuffles broke out and punches were thrown between rival supporters and at least one bottle was thrown at the visitors’ side.
The Reading players were unable to make their way through the crowd to the safety of their dressing room and found themselves stranded on the pitch, with Paunovic claiming some had been verbally assaulted by home fans.
Meanwhile, his backstage staff were confronted with their OWN supporters, disgusted by their humiliating outcome.
Subsequently, Paunovic claimed his players were in danger and revealed: “We understand the excitement but I was very concerned for their safety as it was too close and aggressive.
“The safety of each of us has been put at risk and even worse things could have happened.
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“It was difficult, it wasn’t safe and it wasn’t very pleasant to hear what people were saying to our players and the rest of our staff.
“We understand the world we live in, it happens. It’s just insults but it’s not nice because you don’t know when someone will cross the line and do something else.
“It was bad and I thought the best thing was to run inside, but I also thought I couldn’t leave my team there, so I went to quickly get the players inside and tell them not to answer. “
The Serbian boss claims that at least one of his players has been verbally assaulted by supporters and said: “Tom Dele-Bashiru has been insulted and attacked – just verbal slurs.
“I said ‘don’t do anything’. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it but I don’t think that’s the way it should be.”
Paunovic has defended his decision not to field his strongest side and to prioritize Tuesday’s league game with Fulham.
“The priority is the championship,” he said.
“The FA Cup is a very beautiful and interesting competition, but we cannot risk all of our players – we have to prioritize the Chanpionship.
The injury affected our young players
“We lost Alen Halilovic today and Felipe Araruna who has a dislocated knee capsule.
“It doesn’t look good and he’s devastated. Back then we were leading 1-0 and a few minutes later we conceded the first goal – the injury affected our young players.”
Kidderminster’s heroism shouldn’t be overshadowed by the actions of a few stupid morons and the club insist they’ve taken every precaution possible – including appeals to fans in local media, the match schedule and the speakers.
The FA will take all of this into account and the club could escape punishment.
Manager Russ Penn wanted to focus on his heroic players and said: “I’m so proud of them and the football club.
“We know it’s a unique game, against a championship team and we exceeded expectations, when we equalized it felt like there would be only one winner.
“We had our goals for this season and that was one of them.
“We want to be a League club and that is our overall goal. But these are the days that will never leave the memories of these players.”
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