Blackpool boss Paul Ince calls for action after Preston pitch invasion

Police had to intervene at Deepdale. Photo: PA

Paul Ince hopes that it does not take a fan getting "stabbed" to make football's authorities take further steps to prevent crowd trouble.

The Blackpool manager looked on last night as some of Preston's fans invaded the Deepdale pitch following a 1-0 win over his side in the Capital One Cup.

Preston and Blackpool are old rivals but passions ran too high as ugly scenes unfolded, with television images showing a steward being trampled by a police horse as attempts were made to restrain the crowd.

The steward, wearing a hi-vis jacket, was struck by a horse as it cantered across the pitch, while another horse - also helping with crowd dispersal - appeared to clip him as he lay on the ground.

Ince labelled the scenes an "absolute joke" and added: "I understand that fans get excited....but who knows what can happen.

"We're not listening. Has someone got to be stabbed before we listen?"

The former England international continued: "I wondered if we have enough stewards.

"You see enough situations where fans run on a pitch and I can understand fans' excitement, but there have been enough frightening things that have happened to players that we need to stamp down on it.

"There were three or four hundred Preston fans, so who knows what could have happened? Has it got to take something else to happen before we listen? That's not just Preston but it's the whole football community in general. We need to knuckle down on this.

"We're disappointed as our fans were absolutely fantastic and their behaviour was impeccable. There were no louts on the pitch - unlike Preston - and we conducted ourselves in the right manner. We have to take pride from that as a club."

The Preston fan invaded the pitch at the final whistle. Credit: PA

It was reported by the BBC that the steward was taken to hospital with a suspected injured shoulder.

A Preston spokesman told BBC Sport: "A steward was injured by a police horse.

"He suffered damage to his shoulder, and has gone for an X-ray."

Police said two people were arrested for criminal damage to one of the supporters' coaches outside the ground, with another four people held for minor offences.

Superintendent Richard Morgan said: "Due to the match being a local derby, we had additional resources in place and as a result we were able to quickly respond to the pitch invasion that occurred at the end of the match to disperse the crowds and to bring back order.

"We are aware that a steward was injured inside the ground and I would like to reassure people that will be looking into the circumstances around how and why that happened.

"We have been working closely with the football club in the lead-up to and throughout the match. I would like to stress that it is only a minority who have been involved in the disorder, with the majority of supporters enjoying the event and getting home safely."

Preston's manager Simon Grayson also voiced his disappointment, saying: "You don't want people to be running on the pitch and I would have preferred them to stay behind as the football club might get in trouble over what's happened, but hopefully there's not been too many people seriously injured."