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Assault stains historic victory

The Football Association has launched an investigation after a Stevenage player was punched by a fan while celebrating last night's shock FA Cup victory against Newcastle.

Defender Scott Laird was floored by the blow following the final whistle as the League Two side celebrated their 3-1 win over their Premier League opposition.

Stevenage manager Graham Westley confirmed that Laird had been poleaxed by the blow in an incident which marred the most glorious night in their history.

"Scott Laird was stood celebrating with the fans and a fan just came over and smashed him from the side. He went to the ground and it is a shame for the afternoon to end in that way," said Westley.

A video of the incident was swiftly posted on the internet and the FA are certain to study the evidence.

Westley, however, was more concerned in ensuring that his players got the credit for one of the great FA Cup performances.

"It's not my business to deal with those matters. It's in other people's hands. Look, Mark Roberts had his nose busted in the first half. Footballers take bangs, they take knocks. You can't suggest that is the right way for a football match to end with those things going on but balls get thrown at people, players get kicked, tackles get made.

"We're not people who spend our lives griping about bangs and knocks. I don't think it's the way things should be conducted, but let's leave it at that. I wouldn't want it to take the gloss off the players because they have put in a fantastic shift and the focus should be on the performance."

Stacy Long, Michael Bostwick and Peter Winn scored the goals as little Stevenage proved the magic of the FA Cup is alive and well with one of the competition's biggest ever shocks.

Newcastle were out-played and out-thought by the League Two side in their first season in the Football League. And to complete a miserable night, Alan Pardew's team finished the match with 10 men when substitute Cheik Tiote was sent off for a reckless two-footed challenge.

At the end Newcastle, who have not won the cup since 1955, held their heads in shame. And well they might.

In contrast, the League Two side's attitude was magnificent from first whistle to last. They shocked Newcastle with the first goal after 49 minutes Bostwick extended their lead and although Joey Barton found the net in injury-time, Winn raced clear to score with a fantastic finish.

Sunday Indo Sport