“Dangerous ... people tried to kiss me and were biting me’ says Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph after pitch invasion

'It was very, very scary' admitted Fabian Delph, who added that he lost his boot in the melee on Saturday after Aston Villa's FA Cup quarter-final win over West Brom sparked a massive pitch invasion.

Aston Villa's Fabian Delph shown after scoring the club's first goal against West Bromwich Albion in their FA Cup quarter-final victory on Saturday. Carl Recine / Reuters / March 7, 2015
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Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph admitted he was scared after being bitten by fans during a chaotic end to his side's 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Delph put Tim Sherwood’s side on course for a Wembley semi-final appearance with Villa’s opening goal in the 51st minute and Scott Sinclair’s late strike finished off their local rivals at a boisterous Villa Park.

But both goals were greeted by small pitch invasions and, with just moments left in stoppage-time, over-excited Villa fans poured onto the pitch in a premature celebration that prompted the match to be briefly halted.

The final whistle brought an even larger pitch invasion as hundreds of jubilant supporters flooded the turf, prompting one of the linesmen to make a determined sprint all the way across the pitch to the safety of the tunnel.

Many of Villa’s players were mobbed by their frenzied fans, with Delph revealing he had lost a boot and even been bizarrely bitten in the wild scenes.

Asked how he felt as he tried to make it back to the dressing room in one piece, Delph said: “It was very, very scary. My armband got nicked, someone got my left boot, but I could appreciate the relief the fans are feeling after a result like that.

“It was dangerous. Someone tried to take my boot off. People tried to kiss me and were biting me. It was scary.”

The Football Association are set to launch an investigation into the crowd trouble which marred Aston Villa’s the end of Saturday’s match.

The first sign of trouble came shortly after Delph’s 51st-minute goal when a smoke bomb was let off by the home fans in the lower tier of the North Stand.

Tensions became further heightened later in the half when West Brom supporters situated in the North Stand’s upper tier tore out several seats, throwing them at the Villa fans situated below them.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis told the BBC: “It’s disgraceful. We don’t want to see those scenes.

“They’ve beaten us and for that to happen, that’s just mindless idiots.

“If you’re Villa, you need to look at the stewards as they came over to our fans and there was nobody there.”

Speaking at his press conference afterwards he continued: “I actually think Villa should look at the stewarding.

“It’s a quarter-final of an FA Cup, it’s a full house and you know that it’s going to be testy, let’s put it that way.

“The hierarchy at Villa should recognise that you need stewards at both ends of the pitch.

“To see the supporters coming on with three or four minutes to go ... but they were congregating before that time.

“It puts players at danger and you don’t want to see that. We were seeing that in the 1970s and 1980s, we don’t want to go back to that.

“I am sure the FA will look at it without me poking my nose in too much.

“If you ask me from a football point of view, if you have a load of stewards then it will be sorted out.

Asked if any of his players had been struck, Pulis replied: “I didn’t ask them afterwards.

“Everyone looked as though they had their heads on, their arms on and their legs on. Nobody said anything to me.”

Villa coach Sherwood insisted he “could not condone the fans entering the field,” yet conceded, “I can understand their emotions.”

He said: “They’ve just beat their local rivals twice in a week and once in the quarter-final of the FA Cup, so the emotions are running very, very high.

“But like I say, the club wouldn’t condone that sort of action, especially if anyone was touched. I was unaware of that.

“What can you do? The stewards did their best, I saw them rugby tackle a few guys.

“But when they are coming on in such numbers it’s difficult to stem it.”

It will be the first time Villa have been to Wembley in five years, their last appearance coming in an FA Cup semi-final in 2010 when they were beaten by Chelsea.

But, in the meantime, Sherwood insists their focus must return to their battle against relegation – which continues against fellow strugglers Sunderland next weekend. Villa are currently just above the drop zone in the Premier League, fourth from bottom and three points ahead of both Queens Park Rangers and Burnley.

Sherwood added: “It’s huge. I’ve had a chat with them and they want to dedicate it to the fans.

“They’ve had some hard times here and everyone at the football club now realises that we’re going to need those supporters.

“We know there is still a lot of hard work to be done. They are a good group.”

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