A bizarre incident during South Shields FC’s Bank Holiday Monday game saw an opposition player see red after a ball he booted into the crowd hit a Mariners fan.
The accident happened in the first half of the club’s match at Scarborough.
In the 27th minute of the encounter - Scarborough winger Max Wright, 19, who is on loan from Grimsby Town, tried to keep the ball in play on the touchline.
Officials ruled the ball had gone out and, in frustration at the decision, Wright kicked the ball off the pitch and it hit a female Shields supporter in the face.
He was given a straight red card and she was given some ice to stop any swelling.
The score was 2-1 to Shields at the time and they went on to win 3-1 at the Flamingo Land Stadium in the EVO-STIK North Division.
The crowd at the game was 1,667 with over 600 of them estimated to be from South Shields, as they won their fourth league game in a row at the start of the season to continue their 100% start.
Wright immediately went over and apologised to the woman who was injured and was visibly upset as he left the stadium, saying how sorry he was and that nothing like that had ever happened before with him.
The woman later tracked down Shields officials to pass on to Wright that there were no hard feelings, saying that she accepted it was an accident, wasn’t badly hurt and thought it shouldn’t have been a red card.
She also thanked him for immediately going over to see how she was and hoped that he could move on quickly from the incident.
Speaking about the incident after the game, Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “I think the lad was really silly to do what he did.
“I genuinely don’t think it was intentional, but at the same time, if you’re prepared to kick a ball towards the crowd from five or six yards away, if you don’t connect with it right, this sort of thing can happen.
“He was trying to hit the advertising hoardings, but he has ended up smashing a lady in the face with the ball, and I don’t think the referee had a lot of options in that situation.”