DOZENS of police and a riot control unit were scrambled to Hartlepool railway station after drunken fans caused chaos on a train which had to be stopped in town.
One member of Network Rail staff needed hospital treatment after the terrifying incident.
The four-carriage train carrying more than 400 Sunderland fans to Middlesbrough for an FA Cup replay was damaged and had to be stopped as it arrived in Hartlepool around 6.45pm.
Amid terrifying and chaotic scenes police restrained some fans as tempers threatened to spill over and some drunken fans caused mayhem.
More than two dozen officers, including a Cleveland Police support unit and British Transport Police officers, were called to the station as hundreds of supporters flooded out on to the platforms.
One train window was smashed and alarm cords pulled as the mood turned ugly with many fans getting upset at the delay.
The incident took around an hour to stabilise with a second train being called to take the fans on to Middlesbrough.
Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon, district commander for Hartlepool, who attended the incident with his officers told the Mail: “This was an extremely frightening incident for members of the general public.
“When you see hundreds of young men running around in one location and you don’t know what is going on it can be startling and frightening.
“The vast majority of fans were decent people and it was all down to a few drunken individuals ruining it for everyone.
“The incident had the potential to be serious and also have an impact on the rest of the town as it tied up resources.
“A few people had to be restrained but officers did not make any arrests and we got the fans on another train and on their to Middlesbrough.”
A spokeswoman for Network Rail said: “There were two extra carriages put on to the 17:50 service from Sunderland to Middlesbrough to cope with the extra number of passengers.
“When the service arrived at Hartlepool at around about 6.30pm one of the windows had been put out in the rear carriage and obviously the service could not continue.
“We took the passengers from the train onto the platform to move them onto another train.
“This second train left Hartlepool at around 7.40pm and arrived in Middlesbrough around 8pm.
“During the time the passengers were on the platform at Hartlepool, there was some disturbance and one of our staff members was injured and required hospital treatment before being released last night.”
The game was played in an electric atmosphere at Middelsbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium.
More than 4,000 fans made the trip from Wearside to Teesside for the game, and as well as supporters making their way on trains, traffic on the A19 was also heavily disrupted.
A convoy of more than 40 coaches snaked down the A19 during rush hour, with police outriders escorting the buses to try and keep them all together.
Sunderland won the game 2-1 courtesy of an extra-time winner from striker Stephane Sessegnon.
And despite the rivalry between the sets of fans, police only had to make nine arrests.
One of them was caught live on television after an unruly fan jumped the pitch boundary and approached Boro full-back Justin Hoyte.