A POLICEMAN told a court he was nearly hit in the head by missiles as trouble flared between Pompey and Oldham fans.
Trouble erupted at the league match in September last year as about 20 fans stormed the pitch in an attempt to confront their rivals after Oldham went 2-0 up in the 88th minute.
Ugly scenes persisted following the final whistle as home fans laid in wait for their Oldham counterparts.
Pompey fan Peter Hawkins, 48, is on trial after denying his part in the violent disorder outside the ground where the away fans were due to exit, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.
PC Mathew Cumming, who has worked as a ‘spotter’ for nine years at Pompey games to identify troublemakers, told the court he was aware of tensions building inside the ground before matters took a sinister turn in September last year.
‘There was a lot of chanting and gesticulating between the fans especially toward a bare-chested Oldham fan,’ he told the court. ‘You could feel the tension in the air – it was very intimidating.
‘There was a large group of people there with an intent on violent disorder.’
He added: ‘There was lot of Portsmouth fans throwing objects at Oldham fans – there were a number of missiles that just missed my head. People were putting their hoods up and scarves on to hide their identity. They were trying to start disorder.’
Prosecutor Simon Jones told the court Pompey fans were intent on causing trouble – with Hawkins part of the gang.
‘Peter Hawkins saw what happened at the end of the game (the pitch invasion) and takes his place within the group,’ Mr Jones said.
‘He’s waiting with the group and makes gestures to Oldham fans - there is no dispute of this.
‘Oldham fans are kept back for their own safety and there are innocent bystanders having to walk through this.
‘The defendant throws two missiles toward the away fans. This clearly amounts to unlawful violence or threatening unlawful violence.’
After being arrested Hawkins admitted throwing tin foil at away fans having drunk three pints of lager.
He also conceded being part of the group that was chanting ‘let them out’ at the away fans but only joined the pack out of ‘curiosity’.
Describing the scenes on the day, Mr Jones said: ‘Aggression and hostility were building towards the away fans. Chants of “you dirty northern ******” and “you poor little scummers hit with a brick” were heard.
The defendant was also part of a gang seen on CCTV rushing towards the Frogmore Road end when word got out that Oldham fans were being ushered to a different exit, said the prosecutor.
Hawkins, of Lidsey Road, Chichester, denies violent disorder.