AN Accrington Stanley player was left "sick and disgusted" after an away fan spat on his back during the game against Fleetwood Town in December.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard the match referee witnessed the incident and stopped the match so stewards could remove teenage assailant Lennie Lake, who was 17 at the time.

The court was told when Accrington Stanley defender Ross Sykes, 23, had been made aware of the incident he said he felt “sick and disgusted”.

“I am used to some abuse but this was the next level,” said Mr Sykes, from Burnley.

“Especially at the time of Covid this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.”

Lennie Thomas Lake, 18, of Hamlet Road, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Sykes.

He was fined £184 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £100 compensation, and was made subject to a football banning order for three years.

Passing sentence the chair of the magistrates described it as a “particularly nasty” incident.

“To spit at anyone is not good but when they are just doing their job they should be protected,” he said.

“People do get carried away at football matches but you still have to take responsibility for your own actions.

"You wouldn’t like someone to spit at you while you were doing your job.”

Scott Parker, prosecuting, said the incident happened at about 4.30pm during the EFL League One game at Accrington’s Wham stadium on December 4.

Ross Sykes was taking a throw-in during the 5-1 win for Stanley when Lake spat on his back from the away stand.

“The offence was witnessed by stewards and the match referee who stopped the game and asked for the defendant to be removed,” said Mr Parker.

“He was clearly under the influence of alcohol and was detained by the stewards until the police arrested him.”

Mr Parker said Lake, who was 17 at the time of the offence, had no previous convictions.

Lake, who was not represented, apologised for what he had done and said it would not happen again.

“I was drunk at the time and didn’t know where I was for a few hours, even after I had been arrested."

He told the court he worked as an apprentice signwriter.