Lytham Town footballer Gareth Moore 'decked' players
A non-league footballer, who "decked" three opponents in a match, has been sent on an anger management course.
Judge Simon Newell told Lytham Town's Gareth Moore, 22, that he had escaped jail "by the skin of your teeth".
Moore, who admitted assault, received a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, and was ordered to perform 140 hours' community service.
He must also serve a six-week curfew from 20:00 to 06:00 and pay a total of £900 compensation to his victims.
The court heard the striker was incensed at a tackle on a team-mate during a West Lancashire League match at Longridge Town on 25 February, which had to be abandoned.
Daniel Thomas, prosecuting, said Moore, of Kent Road, Blackpool, had words with the referee following a first-half tackle which badly injured a Lytham player.
He got into a row with Longridge player Luke Platt who told him to shut up.
"Mr Platt then felt a blow to the head and he fell to the ground," said Mr Thomas.
Moore also punched two of Mr Platt's team-mates to the side of their faces when they went to help.
Mr Platt needed corrective surgery on a broken nose - Moore's other two victims did not need treatment.
Dave Ryan, for the defendant, said Moore, who works for Manchester-based sports marketing firm Eleven Sports Media, had turned to drink after a US football scholarship ended.
It was clear his anger management issues needed to be confronted, said Mr Ryan, adding: "He wants to publicly apologise to his victims."
'Bit of banter'
Judge Newell told Moore: "You play at a decent level of football where members of the public and children would have been there.
"For a young boy of 12 or 13 to go to the match and then see you turn round and deck three people for no real reason other than a bit of banter in a game of football, that is pretty disgraceful."
The judge said it was a borderline decision whether to jail Moore.
"You have got away with it by the skin of your teeth."
Moore was also told to pay £750 compensation to Mr Platt and £75 each to the other two footballers.