Everton v Aston Villa: Lucas Digne & Matty Cash hit by bottle

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Cash and Digne were struck celebrating Villa's goal by Buendia
Cash and Digne were struck celebrating Villa’s goal by Buendia

Aston Villa’s Lucas Digne and Matty Cash were struck by a bottle thrown from the crowd in their side’s Premier League game at Everton on Saturday.

The plastic bottle was thrown as Villa celebrated Emi Buendia’s goal just before half-time.

It appeared to land between the two players, who both stayed on the floor briefly before being able to continue.

Full-back Digne joined Villa from Everton two weeks ago after asking to leave.

“What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad,” Digne wrote in a post on Instagramexternal-link at the time.

“But I will not enter a war on words with anyone.”

Figures released on Friday showed arrests at football matches across the top five English leagues are at their highest levels in years, with fan disorder “getting worse” according to the UK’s football policing lead.

The latest data covers the first half of this season – which has seen the return of fans to capacity stadiums after a year of lockdowns and restrictions.

There have been more than 800 football-related arrests in the first six months of the campaign, alongside more than 750 reported incidents of disorder.

The build-up to the game at Goodison Park had been emotionally charged, with Duncan Ferguson taking interim charge of the team following Rafael Benitez’s sacking last week.

A plane carrying a banner reading "22 years of failure Bill @Time2GoBill" was seen before kick-off
A plane carrying a banner reading “22 years of failure Bill @Time2GoBill” was seen before kick-off

Anger among fans has been building about the direction of the club following a run of one win in 13 league games before the visit of Villa.

A plane flew over the ground before kick-off, calling for the resignation of chairman Bill Kenwright, who has been associated with the club for more than 20 years.

The bottle-throwing incident follows a similar scene at Elland Road at the beginning of January when Burnley’s Matt Lowton was struck by a bottle while celebrating a goal against Leeds.

“It just needs to be a lifetime ban for anybody caught doing it. It’s dangerous,” said former Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If it’s a coin you could cause real damage. Or a full bottle with a lid on it, which they are not supposed to have in there anyway, you could really hurt someone.”

Former Everton forward James McFadden added: “It’s disgusting to see things being thrown from the crowd, it’s a disgrace.

“It should never happen. There is no way a player should be hit by a bottle or objects thrown from the crowd.”

Villa's Ezi Konsa removed the lid and took a sip out of the bottle
Villa’s Ezi Konsa removed the lid and took a sip out of the bottle

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