Sunday league footballer accused of knocking opponent's tooth out in game
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A Sunday league footballer has gone on trial accused of knocking another player's tooth out with his elbow during a game in Felixstowe.
Joshua Cook, 30, of Goldsmith Road, Ipswich, is facing a single charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the alleged incident in a match between The Feathers FC and Greshams FC.
The court heard the alleged incident took place on Langley Avenue Sports Field, Felixstowe, on Sunday, September 24, 2017, in the 89th minute of a game between the two Ipswich Sunday Football League sides.
Felixstowe-based side The Feathers FC won the game 4-2.
Opening the case at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday, Nicola May, prosecuting, told the jury that the victim, Greshams FC player Neil Potter, described being pushed to the ground by his opponent Cook after the ball had moved to a different part of the pitch.
Mr Potter got up and was hit with a "swinging elbow" to his face from Cook, Miss May told the jury.
The blow resulted in Mr Potter's upper left incisor tooth being knocked out, which required "significant dental surgery", Miss May said.
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The referee initially showed Cook a yellow card before changing it to a red and sending him off upon seeing the injury, Miss May said.
Miss May told the jury the incident was not "part and parcel of any rough and tumble" during the game but a deliberate "smash to the face" when the ball had moved on.
In police interview on October 5, 2017, Cook told officers he had come on as a substitute for The Feathers with around 25 minutes to go.
He said he had scored a goal for his team and had got into a "tussle" with Mr Potter, who had then come up to him.
In a later interview with police, Cook said he was an aggressive player but not an aggressive person.
Cook claimed he did not make contact by way of deliberate act, the court heard.
"He denies that the contact was unlawful," Miss May told the jury.
The trial, which is expected to last four days, continues.