Sheffield Wednesday's manager, Dave Jones, described Leeds United supporters as "vile animals" and demanded they be banned from all away games after his goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was attacked and shoved to the ground during Friday night's Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough.
Moments after Michael Tonge's 76th-minute shot put Leeds back on level terms at 1-1, a fan ran on to the pitch from the away end and pushed both hands into Kirkland's face.
The goalkeeper collapsed and had to receive lengthy treatment before continuing. His assailant sprinted back into the seats behind Kirkland's goal and was caught on camera smiling. South Yorkshire police said they will be "working with both clubs to identify and quickly bring to justice" the man responsible and those guilty of other incidents of disorder.
With Leeds fans having also attempted to confront their Wednesday counterparts in an adjoining stand, flinging bottles and ripped-up seats – debris was also thrown in the opposite direction – and with a number having chanted in praise of Jimmy Savile as well as aiming vicious chants at Jones, the club will undoubtedly face a Football Association inquiry.
The immediate reaction of the Leeds manager, Neil Warnock, when interviewed on television, was to condemn the attack, although he did suggest that Kirkland had gone down "like a ton of bricks".
Jones was furious Warnock sent Leeds' players across to the away support to applaud them at the end of the game.
"You can't let them get away with it," he said. "Leeds supporters should be banned from every away ground until they sort it out. I thought those days had gone. Chris is sore, dazed, probably concussed, I don't know – he doesn't look too good. To then go and send his players to clap them, no, I'm sorry but that's not right. If you're going to make a stand, make a stand in your own house, and I've told Neil that and I'll tell him when I see him again."
Many chants were aimed at Jones, relating to child abuse charges of which he was emphatically cleared 12 years ago.
"All the Leeds fans will be tarred with the same brush, and they should be, because from what I could hear it wasn't just one person chanting the vile things, it was quite a lot of them," said Jones. "You talk about racism in the game – what about the chanting?
"That is a form of racism – I've had it for 12 years, so I'll put up with it, but the club needs to clean its house out. You don't go and wave at them after the game. For what? For wrecking a stadium and beating up my goalkeeper? I thought that had gone out of the game and we're talking about that instead of a great game. They're all vile animals, all of them, and it needs sorting and quickly."
Many Leeds supporters took to social media to apologise for the assault and some tweeted pictures of the individual.
The club immediately issued a statement: "Leeds United apologise and condemn the actions of the fan who came on to the pitch and attacked Chris Kirkland. The club will fully co-operate with both the police and football authorities in identifying the individual concerned. After the week that football has endured, there is no place for this type of behaviour and the majority of Leeds United fans will be ashamed of his actions."
A number of Wednesday supporters also chanted offensively, making reference to the two Leeds supporters killed in Turkey in 2000.
Warnock said 99% of the Leeds fans had been "superb" and suggested Jones' reaction was down to being disappointed at not winning. Wednesday had led through Jay Bothroyd's 44th-minute header but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
"He's desperate for a win, they've not had a very good run and I understand his feelings being a manager – it's a pressure game," Warnock said. "If anything Leeds United coming here was the best thing that could have happened to him – if it was a lesser team tonight, on the run they're on, it would have been very difficult for him, but the crowd lifted them.
"Dave says a lot; he's probably lost two points in his own mind. You can get a bit carried away.
"I've been with Dave before and you do get upset if you don't get the right result as a manager, so you have to take it with a pinch of salt. You don't mention what's detrimental about your own side or your own fans, and I can't blame him for that because of the run that they're on. I thought it was a cracking match to watch, atmosphere-wise, and it's unfortunate all the headlines will be about one moron.
"Ninety-nine per cent of our fans were superb and I thought it made for a great atmosphere. I spoke to the police after about our fans and they said they had some as well – I think both clubs have some fans they could do without, but that's football. It's so sad and disappointing – if anything [the assault] stopped us winning the game. You can't blame the police – if you have a moron who wants to run on the pitch, you're not going to stop it."
Earlier on television he had been strong in his condemnation of the assault on Kirkland. "I felt embarrassed to be a manager when I saw that," he said. "I thought it was an absolute disgrace. I think they should get the guy and prosecute him and put him in prison. He [Kirkland] went down like a ton of bricks but that doesn't make a difference. Nobody should be on the pitch doing that." Warnock said he had not seen Leeds supporters throwing seats.