Toon vow to punish invaders
Three fans were arrested and another escorted from the ground on Friday night. The Magpies vowed to take "the strongest possible action" against fans responsible for causing a 10-minute delay in the match as celebrations of Sammy Ameobi's 55th-minute goal turned ugly. The match looked in danger of being called off as scenes turned violent at The Darlington Arena and, although calm was eventually restored, the guilty parties can expect repercussions. A statement from the club's managing director Derek Llambias read: "On behalf of everyone at Newcastle United FC, we wholly condemn the behaviour of a number of our supporters who invaded the pitch during the second half of the club's friendly against Darlington this evening (July 15). "The club will be seeking to obtain footage of the disorder from Darlington FC and the police and will be taking the strongest possible action against those individuals responsible for the shameful behaviour. "This behaviour is not typical of the vast majority of our fans, however this incident gives a poor impression of Newcastle United and its loyal supporters." Hatem Ben Arfa made his first appearance since his horror leg break at Manchester City last October as Newcastle boss Alan Pardew named a strong line-up for the team's first pre-season game. Captain Joey Barton, who will miss the tour of North America after being denied a visa, opened the scoring in the third minute when he knocked home a cross from Leon Best before substitute Ameobi drilled home a fine shot 10 minutes into the second half. Durham Police confirmed three visiting Newcastle fans were arrested for "pitch incursion" and another was escorted from the ground. Manager Alan Pardew reportedly intervened to try to calm fans down and appeal for them to clear the pitch. Some of the 9,000-plus crowd thought the match had been abandoned but the referee managed to restart the game after the playing surface was cleared. Police could not confirm reports of an isolated outbreak of fighting between fans during the match. A force spokeswoman said: "There has been a crowd of more than 9,700, which is significantly more than expected based on ticket sales. "Everything was peaceful until Newcastle scored their second goal and a pitch incursion occurred which was high spirited but not violent. "A further pitch incursion of around 20 to 30 people followed - a Newcastle supporter being escorted from the ground and three Newcastle supporters were arrested for pitch incursion." The spokeswoman said: "The game ended without incident and crowds have subsequently dispersed." She said the three people remained in custody. Pardew was disappointed the trouble marred a decent display by his side. He said on BBC Radio 5 Live after his team's 2-0 win: "It was unfortunate because what seemed to be a jovial kind of chant went up about if Sammy scored, and he did. From that, there was a pitch invasion. Of course you don't want it, but it seemed in good heart. "Somewhere along the line it got lost and there were a couple of nasty incidents on the pitch. "Unfortunately for us, a few have spoiled it for the 6,000-odd we had here. "The majority were excellent. It's a shame. We've tarnished the game where we've performed very well." He continued: "It was just supporters coming to support their team. They were in good voice, too. I think a few younger members of our fan group just lost their heads a little bit over something, I don't know. It was difficult to assess from where I was standing - I was on the other side of the pitch. "I just thought 'we want to get the players off'. Usually that gets the fans off if there's nothing to react to. I went over there myself to try to plead with them to stay off. "It was just the minority. "We can't disguise that that period in the game has put a bad reflection on what was, on the pitch, a good night."