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Football fans watched in horror as a dream moment for Nottingham Forest turned into a nightmare as a fan allegedly attacked an opposing player as supporters streamed onto the field to celebrate the team's win.
Nottingham Forest fans spilled on to the pitch at the end of the Championship playoff semi-final penalty shoot-out win against Sheffield United.
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Sheffield's captain Billy Sharpe was sidelined for the second-leg and was with the coaching staff on the edge of the technical area during the penalties.
Forest secured a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout victory following a 3-3 aggregate draw, which sparked a pitch invasion at the City Ground.
And in ugly scenes, a Forest fan allegedly ran up to Sharpe and headbutted him in the face.
The shocking footage was picked up during the broadcast.
"A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. He remains in custody and will be questioned by officers," Nottinghamshire Police's chief inspector Paul Hennessy said.
"Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation."
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom let rip at the alleged attack.
"He's shook up, bleeding, angry," Heckingbottom said.
"Bill was minding his own business off the pitch, trying to get our players away. He was blindsided, it was cowardly. He was knocked to the ground (and required) stitches, he was shook up."
Football world blasts cowardly attack
Forest have condemned the incident and say the offender will be subject to "a life ban" from the club.
"Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight's match at the City Ground," the statement added.
"The club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club."
Fans jumped on social media to blast the disgusting act.
This is a joke. What an absolute prick. Hope Billy Sharpe is alright pic.twitter.com/fOmnBz5NXZ
— James Dickinson (@Jdickinson108) May 17, 2022
An absolutely disgusting incident on Billy Sharpe tonight I really hope he’s ok, the pitch invasions have to stop I’ve said it for ages, it’s dangerous #Disgusting
— Jamie Ohara (@Mrjamieohara1) May 17, 2022
I’ve just witnessed one of the biggest, greatest nights in my club’s recent history. How shall I celebrate? I know, I’ll charge head first at Billy Sharp like a hormonal rhino. That’ll put the cherry on top.
Abhorrent. Ban him for life, chuck him away.
— James Sharpe (@TheSharpeEnd) May 17, 2022
I hope they catch the plumb who ran onto the pitch and shoved Billy Sharpe over. Absolutely Disgusting Billy is a top bloke.
— Simon Emmerson 🔴⚪🔴 (@SimonEmmerson74) May 17, 2022
Billy Sharpe absolutely clattered!! These pitch invasions need to stop because this is too easy to attack a player! Ban incoming for that idiot! pic.twitter.com/kCQ4wTuYHP
— Jambags (@jambags) May 17, 2022
On the field, there was insane drama in the Championship.
The Blades had dragged themselves back into the tie after losing the first leg 2-1 and trailing on the night to Brennan Johnson's opener.
Second-half goals from Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck took it to extra time and after another 30 minutes and still 3-3 on aggregate, Congolese goalkeeper Brice Samba denied Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Gibbs-White in the shootout to send Forest through to a showdown against Huddersfield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday May 29.
Forest, bottom of the second tier after seven games when Steve Cooper took charge in September, are now just one win away from a return to the top-flight after a 23-year absence.
"I would have loved to have won the game 3-1 and walked off but the fact we've done it like we have means we're more tooled up now to go to the final," Cooper said.
"I promise you I will work even harder than I've worked to get this. No days off, I'll be the first one at the training ground (on Wednesday) and we'll be ready.
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