Hawks boss relieved as Ed Harris is cleared of biting rival

Ed Harris. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150553-8)
Ed Harris. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150553-8)
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Lee Bradbury has spoken of his relief after Hawks defender Ed Harris was cleared of biting at a Football Association (FA) hearing.

Chelmsford City midfielder Mark Haines claimed Harris had bitten him in the Conference South contest with the Hawks at Melbourne Road in March.

The incident came in the 18th minute when the pair clashed off the ball.

Haines appeared to pull Harris to the ground and hold him down before both players were restrained by their team-mates.

The pair were then sent off as Haines complained to the referee he had been bitten.

Harris immediately denied the accusation.

The Hawks and the centre-back were then told three weeks ago that the allegations would be examined at an FA hearing.

Bradbury was furious the case was going to be heard.

But is now relieved Harris can get on with his job at Westleigh Park.

‘The allegations made against Ed were extremely serious,’ said Bradbury.

‘What the Chelmsford player was claiming cast a 
big shadow over both the player’s reputation and of our club.

‘Anyone who knows Ed 
will tell you it is not in his nature to even consider such an act.

‘His disciplinary record is superb and he sets a fine example to others around him.

‘He is highly competitive but in the right way.

‘Ed said right from the start he never did it and I believe him.’

If he was found guilty, Harris could have been banned for up to 10 games.

This was inconceivable for Bradbury, who had already been without his defender for much of the season finale as he served a suspension for the red card.

Harris missed the last three games of the regular campaign and the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Boreham Wood.

His impact was instant on his return as he shored up the Hawks defence but the damage had been done as they missed out on their promotion dream.

Bradbury, who attended 
the FA hearing himself, believes common sense has prevailed.

‘We feel justice has been done,’ said the Hawks manager.

‘If Harris had been ruled out at the start of the season it would have been a major blow.

‘I do feel though that there should be consequences for people bringing such accusations if they are unproven.

‘Chelmsford and their player have lost nothing yet our player has suffered a few weeks of stress waiting for a verdict.’