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FA probe crowd trouble at Wolves' FA Cup win over West Brom

Police officers run to reinforce colleagues after trouble broke out between West Bromwich Albion and <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/wolverhampton-wanderers/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Wolverhampton Wanderers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Wolverhampton Wanderers</a> fans (Darren Staples)

The Football Association has launched an investigation into the crowd trouble that marred Wolves' FA Cup victory over local rivals West Bromwich Albion after fans fought a bloody battle on Sunday.

Play was halted by referee Thomas Bramall late in the second half at the Hawthorns when fans spilled onto the pitch as fighting broke out in one corner of the stadium.

One supporter was escorted away with blood streaming from a head wound.

West Midlands Police said two people were arrested after the disturbance and another was arrested prior to the match for possession of an offensive weapon, while a man was taken to hospital with head injuries.

Play resumed after a delay of 38 minutes and the final 12 minutes of Wolves' 2-0 win were finished with no further incidents.

"The disorder that occurred at the Black Country derby between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers is completely unacceptable," an FA statement said.

"Safety and security are of the utmost importance, and the behaviour of those involved is dangerous and inexcusable.

"We will be investigating these serious incidents alongside the clubs and the relevant authorities, and the appropriate action will be taken."

The ugly scenes came in the first meeting between the bitter rivals with fans allowed in 12 years.

Violence broke out on a large scale shortly after Matheus Cunha had given Wolves a two-goal lead in the 78th minute of the fourth-round clash.

West Brom hooligans appeared to attack Wolves fans who were sitting in a section of the Hawthorns reserved for home supporters.

Police and stewards rushed to the disturbance as missiles and punches were thrown at both ends of the ground.

- 'No-one wants to see that'

The teams left the pitch to return to the dressing rooms, with West Brom defender Kyle Bartley holding his child in his arms after taking him from an area near the trouble.

There had earlier been pockets of trouble in other parts of the ground.

Fans threw flares in the away section after Wolves opened the scoring in the first half. Objects were also thrown at Wolves' Tommy Doyle as he prepared to take a corner.

West Brom captain Jed Wallace admitted the shocking scenes had taken a toll on his side.

"You focus on the game and then it's kicking off. A lot of the players were distressed because that's where their families sit," he said.

"They were worried about their children, that's why you could see some of them running over. No-one wants to see that in football.

"They're two huge clubs with passionate supporters. You hope it keeps a lid on it at times."

Speaking after his club's first win at the Hawthorns since 1996, Wolves goal-scorer Cunha insisted he never felt threatened by the violence.

"I'm from South America, this kind of thing happens, as long as everyone is safe," he said.

"It is bad when you see some children crying and things like that, but the most important thing is everyone is safe.

"Derby days are always incredible, the atmosphere is amazing. After 2-0 it was calm. We came back out for the final 10 minutes and got the win."

smg/mw