THE FA have backed Brian Pritchard and upheld Witton Albion's appeal for wrongful dismissal of their centre back in the now infamous Cheshire Senior Cup final.
Pritchard tackled a streaker and was sent off by referee Steve Cummins - unprecedented action which gave rise to massive national and international publicity.
'I am really happy about this. I was confident of the outcome, but that is all I can say for the moment,' said Pritchard, a policeman, who was worried not about his suspension, but his sudden notoriety and possibility of facing disciplinary procedures at work.
'I have been staggered by the publicity and the support I have been given by Witton, the public and my colleagues,' he added.
Soho Square took a look at the video of the incident, which happened an hour into the Cheshire Senior Cup final against Woodley Sports at Altrincham.
A streaker invaded the pitch and with no-one making moves to apprehend him, Pritchard tripped him up. After a brief discussion with a linesman Runcorn refereee Cummins sent off Pritchard and initiated the liveliest football debate of the week.
The FA took one look at the video and rescinded the red card, which means the sending off will not appear on the player's record and neither will he have to serve a three-match ban. They upheld Witton's appeal on the grounds of wrongful dismissal.
Albion secretary Phil Chadwick said: 'We have been completely vindicated.'
If the FA backed the ref then they would have set a precedent and no player would have dared interfere even if an invader was threatening to attack an official.
Now the ball is back in the Cheshire FA's court and they must decide what action, if any, to take against Altrincham, whose stewarding seemed inadequate, Woodley whose supporter ruined their final and Cummins himself.
Meanwhile, Albion beat the transfer deadline on Wednesday to sign Runcorn winger Adam Carden and promote three reserves to the first team.
Carden, 18, made the Southport first team once last season and was a regular at Runcorn during the first half the current campaign.
But he fell out of favour and was in the Maghull team when the call came from Albion boss John Davison.
He arrives as cover but with the chance of proving himself.
Christie Forde, 21, and Adam Clarke, 20, who have both been regular scorers with the reserves this season, have joined the senior squad. Stepping up too is centre back Andy Jones (21) who is based at Crewe and has also signed for Stafford Rangers.
Witton travel to Bishop Auckland on Wednesday and on Saturday are at Leek Town, who have signed Crewe striker Carl Frost, a striker popular at Wincham Park during his two loan spells.
On Monday they are at home to fringe title challengers Lincoln United.
Darrell Dicken's accumulative bookings counts him out of the away trips.
Witton are now seeking the services of a translator. Reports on Pritchard's dismissal were wired around the world and they have managed to retrieve articles from Spain, Italy and Holland, but haven't a clue what they say. Debbie Waterman has posted them on the Albion website.
Supporter Mike Turner, working in Qatar, was taken aback to see his team make even the Asian TV screens.
WITTON Juniors still have vacancies for their annual five-a-side tournament: Under 8s am May 8; U10s am, U11s pm May 9; U12s am, U13s pm May 15; U14s am, U15s pm May 16.