'WENT TOO FAR': Chris Zebroski
TORQUAY United winger Chris Zebroski has been ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work after admitting assaulting a soldier in a harbourside street fight.
Zebroski (pictured) was handed the 12-month community order after magistrates yesterday heard he had been drinking before he punched and kicked Dean Ford outside the Clock Tower pub in Torwood Street in the early hours of August 22.
He has since sought help from the Professional Footballers Association.
The court heard that Zebroski stepped in to help in an argument involving Gulls team-mate Guy Branston.
Zebroski, 24, whose address was given as Fitwell Road, Swindon, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm when he appeared before Torquay magistrates.
He was given a 12-month community order and ordered to attend an alcohol and substance misuse programme.
He was also ordered to pay £300 to his victim.
Prosecutor Philip Sewell told the court how a witness saw the victim fly through the air, land on a parked car and slide down on to the floor after he was punched and then kicked or kneed in the head.
Mr Sewell said: "He landed face up, then the male kicked or stamped on the boy once or twice."
Another witness, a taxi driver, said that he saw the victim 'backing off' during the incident.
Mr Sewell told the court: "He saw males shouting at each other and a male run towards him and throw a punch with his right fist towards his face."
The court heard that there was 'an element of provocation' to the attack.
Mitigating solicitor, Joe Tuck, said Zebroski had intervened in an argument between Mr Ford and his friend Mr Branston.
Mr Tuck said: "I am not trying to play down his behaviour but he was acting in self defence and on behalf of his friend.
"Yes, he has gone too far."
Zebroski has since stopped drinking and has sought help from the Professional Footballers Association.
Mr Tuck told the court: "The PFA are helping him with how to deal with drink and the incident."
He told the court how the victim had become aggressive with hospital staff who treated him for his injuries after the incident.
He said: "This is an angry young man.
"When he was in hospital the next morning he had to be removed from the hospital because of the aggression that he was showing.
"This does not lessen Mr Zebroski's involvement but shows what he is up against.
"The person he is squaring up to is a real threat.
"But that threat does not justify a kick on the ground."
After the hearing, Torquay United chairman Simon Baker said: "We are not very happy about it.
"I want to sit down with the manager and the board to work out what we need to do about this. From our point of view it is very early days."
He said Zebroski's availability for tomorrow's FA Cup second round tie at home to Walsall would be a matter for the manager.