An amateur footballer who punched a referee in the face and broke his nose after being sent off for arguing when a penalty decision was turned down has escaped jail.
Shane Davies, 27, assaulted Alan Kite, 63, after being sent off for foul and abusive language directed at the referee.
A court heard The Malt Shovel Athletic player had angrily contested two penalty appeals, which were waved away by Mr Kite during the game against Ocker Hill FC on March 31 last year.
After being sent off the dad-of-three flipped and attacked Mr Kite before he walked off the pitch and back to the dressing rooms.
The Dudley and Cradley Heath Football League match was abandoned and police were called who later arrested Davies at his house in Dudley, West Mids.
He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which he pleaded guilty to at an earlier hearing.
On Tuesday he appeared before Wolverhampton Crown Court where he received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
He was also told to pay £500 compensation to Mr Kite, £535 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.
Sentencing Judge Helen Hughes said: “Your own counsel has described your behaviour as thoroughly reprehensible and those are the words I would use to describe it.”
The assault happened during a match at King George V Park, Wordsley, West Mids., in front of around 60 spectators.
The court heard after waving away a second penalty appeal in the second half Mr Kite awarded Ocker Hill a free kick, which annoyed Davies.
The yob then ran towards the Mr Kite shouting abuse at him, which was deemed “unacceptable behaviour” leading to the red card.
Instead of accepting the referee’s decision and leaving the pitch, Davies remonstrated and then punched him once, knocking him to the ground and breaking his nose.
Prosecuting Geoffrey Dann said: “This young man has underlying problems.
“He understood he had a problem and had already consulted his GP about anger management and that came to the fore on this occasion.”
After the case an FA spokesman said Davies, who was already serving a ban for assaulting a rival player in a previous game, was now banned from football for life.
Iain Farrimond, senior crown prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, added: “Refereeing a football match can at times be extremely difficult with decisions being made which one team or another will disagree with or feel as though they have been harshly treated by.
“However, as a footballer, you have a duty of responsibility to your club, your team mates and your supporters to accept the decision which has been made, and if you do feel aggrieved by the decision, then approach your team’s captain who will raise it with the referee.
“What is not acceptable is verbally abusing the referee and then assaulting them.
“We hope the sentence sends out a clear message to all those playing and watching the game that such behaviour, as carried out by Shane Davies, is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”