Trouble flared between Leeds fans and police and stewards at The Riverside on Sunday after Leeds lost 3-0 to Middlesbrough.
Efforts from David Nugent and Diego Fabbrini sandwiched Giuseppe Bellusci’s spectacular own goal as a tame Leeds side left Teesside empty-handed and it was more than some of the visiting fans could take as they took their frustrations out on stewards and police.
Minor skirmishes took place as a small minority of the 2,600 visiting fans vented their anger on ground staff and the police as they left the stadium.
It’s not clear whether any arrests were made in the 27, 694 crowd, but extra police had been drafted in ahead of the lunchtime kick-off to avoid violent clashes between fans.
Cleveland Police said they had been working with both clubs to ensure that the day at the Riverside was “safe and enjoyable for all”.
There were two arrests during the game and two after the final whistle of the corresponding fixture last season.
Middlesbrough headed into Sunday’s clash knowing victory would move them a point behind leaders Brighton and five ahead of third-placed Reading.
And they started like a team with that in mind, with Nugent opening the scoring in the third minute.
Things went from bad to worse for Leeds as Bellusci headed into his own net after 32 minutes, with their anger growing when Mirco Antenucci saw a goal harshly ruled out for offside just after the break.
A miserable afternoon was capped in the 81st minute when Fabbrini capitalised on Sol Bamba’s slip to add further gloss.
The hosts flew out of the blocks and took the lead with their first attack.
Fernando Amorebieta’s searching long ball found Nugent, who flicked on for Cristhian Stuani.
The winger ran on to the ball, before beating Charlie Taylor twice and sending a perfect cross to the back post, where Nugent controlled and powered an effort beyond Marco Silvestri.
Boro were almost 2-0 up in the 11th minute as Albert Adomah delivered a dangerous centre that Bamba chested towards his own goal to force a fine save from Silvestri.
Leeds came back into the game, though, and almost levelled through Antenucci.
The Italian linked up superbly with Gaetano Berardi, only to hit straight at Dimi Konstantopoulos after working a shooting angle.
Yet Leeds’ good spell did not bring reward and they were hit by a sucker punch in the 32nd minute.
George Friend raced down the left and sent in a pinpoint delivery to the near post, with Bellusci’s wild diving header flying into the net.
Leeds responded well to that setback as Stuart Dallas and Alex Mowatt forced saves from Konstantopoulos in quick succession.
Konstantopoulos was required again soon after, the Greek getting down low to turn Mowatt’s fizzing strike around the post.
The midfielder’s frustration only grew early in the second half as the big goalkeeper denied him once more, this time keeping out a fine 25-yard free-kick.
That annoyance paled in comparison to the anger felt by Leeds in the 56th minute, however.
The visitors thought they had equalised when Berardi’s long-range volley found its way to Antenucci, who finished neatly.
However, a long consultation between referee Neil Swarbrick and his linesman ensued before the latter retrospectively raised the flag.
Leeds still looked threatening, though, and nearly found a way through when Konstantopoulos saved smartly from Antenucci’s header.
But the wind was permanently knocked out of their sails after Bamba’s costly fall, which left Fabbrini to round Silvestri and complete the scoring.