A FOOTBALL match in Worcester was abandoned after 42 minutes because five players from the same team were sent off.

Katy O’Ryans were reduced to six men for offences ranging from violent conduct to improper and insulting behaviour towards opponents in their Worcester and District League Saturday Division Two home match against Malvern Hills.

It forced referee Darren Amor, who also booked two other Katy O’Ryans players, to stop the clash at Wilden Village Cricket Club three minutes before the break because teams are not allowed to field less than seven players.

According to Malvern Hills official Daniel Tedds, Amor halted the match amid safety fears for the visiting team after tempers flared.

He said: “It all kicked off and the referee decided to abandon the game because of of our safety.”

The teams were locked with the score at 0-0 although Malvern Hills’ Matt McIntosh had seen a penalty saved after Craig Tommey had been brought down in the box.

Each of the five players will be banned from Saturday, March 9, with three facing three-match bans and the others missing two games.

The Worcestershire Football Association have also charged the Stourport-based club with multi-player misconduct for having more than six players cautioned in a single match.

Katy O’Ryans, who are second in the Division Two table, could yet be hit with further punishments by the league following the incident.

Worcester League secretary Tim Phillips said: “The league are extremely disappointed to hear of the abandonment and will wait for the Worcestershire FA action and investigation to be completed before we consider any further action.”

Chris Dale, disciplinary manager at the Worcestershire FA, added: “These type of things are an unusual occurence and fortunately it doesn’t happen very often.

“It’s not a situation we like to see but we have to deal with it when it arises.”

Katy O’Ryans were unavailable for comment, while Amor, who has submitted a report to the county FA, declined to comment when contacted.