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The 21-year-old supporter has been banned from attending games and also handed a suspended sentence, three-month curfew and 120 hours unpaid work

The Manchester City fan who ran onto the pitch to confront Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand in the recent derby has been banned from attending football matches for three years.

The supporter, named Matthew Stott, pleaded guilty to pitch encroachment and using threatening behaviour and has subsequently been punished with the ban and a 56-day prison sentence suspended for a year, a three-month curfew and 120 hours unpaid work.

However, District Judge Richardson did reserve praise for Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, who intervened to stop the fan from reaching Ferdinand.

"As a follower of football the level of passion connected with kicking a ball around is difficult for many to comprehend,” Richardson told the court.

"You may very well have excited a huge popular response by supporters of the other team. Thanks to Mr Hart that did not happen.

"This has to be a custodial sentence which I will suspend but you are lucky you are not going straight down."

The incident occurred after Robin van Persie scored a last-minute winner to put United 3-2 up against their cross-city rivals.

Several Manchester United players ran to the stands to celebrate, sparking angry scenes in which Ferdinand was first hit in the face with a coin.

Stott was also ordered to pay £145, while several other supporters were handed sanctions relating to incidents that took place during the same match.

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