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4 February 2015, 10:29
A Watford footballer has been cleared of attacking another player during a cup match in Welwyn Garden City.
Lily-May Commins, 20, was alleged to have hit Manjinder Atwal, who ended up sitting on the pitch clutching her face.
But a jury at Luton crown court found Ms Commins, of 4 Cockle Way, Shenley, Radlett, not guilty of causing actual bodily harm on 29 September 2013.
The court heard that Ms Commins was playing for Garston Ladies, who were losing 4-0 in an away match against Sherrardswood Ladies in Welwyn Garden City.
Ms Commins, who now plays for Tottenham Ladies Reserves, told the court that she had been playing football since the age of five and had never been sent off or even booked before. She said she is in her second year studying sport at Southgate College.
One of her team mates put in a tackle on Miss Atwal, which she described as a "bit of a harsh tackle".
She said Ms Atwal turned to the team mate who had made the tackle, saying: "Do it again and I will knock you out."
Ms Commins said she told the Sherrardswood player "No you won't - you won't touch her."
With that she said Miss Atwal laughed and another Sherrardswood player nearby said "They are just a bunch of little kids."
She claimed she told Miss Atwal to leave her alone as she walked away, but said the Sherrardswood player continued to laugh at her and follow her up the pitch.
"I told her to leave me alone several times, but she was still following me."
She denied swearing at the other player or threatening her, adding: "I was quite shocked and I felt quite intimidated. We had just moved up into ladies football. It was our third game and I wasn't used to playing up against older women," she said.
Miss Commins said: "I said 'Leave me alone' again and she said: 'Why? What are you going to do about it?'"
She said she thought the other player might hit her and she told the court: "It was self defence, I punched her first."
Asked by her barrister Alan Walmsely where she had directed the punch, she replied "On her nose."