A FOOTBALLER has been cleared of assaulting another player during a friendly five-a-side game.
Adam Wainman, 21, struck David Simpson in the mouth after he was kicked on the ankle from behind and thought he was about to be "jumped" on the pitch.
The jury at Bradford Crown Court acquitted Mr Wainman yesterday afternoon of causing Mr Simpson actual bodily harm on November 12 last year.
Mr Wainman, of Wainman Street, Shipley, said he acted in self defence when Mr Simpson pushed him in the back during a hard tackle and then twice kicked him on the ankle.
He told the court he was tackled from behind with excessive force by Mr Simpson during the friendly match at Goals Bradford.
Mr Simpson caught him on the back, causing him pain.
Mr Wainman said he pushed Mr Simpson in the chest with both hands and walked away towards his side's goal.
Mr Simpson called him an insulting name and kicked his ankle to try to trip him.
Mr Wainman said he turned round and warned him: "Do that again..."
"He kicked my ankle again and I turned round and punched him once."
Mr Wainman continued: "I felt threatened. He was behind me and he could have done anything."
He had already warned Mr Simpson and feared he could be jumped.
It was a quick jab to the face not meant to cause him any damage.
Mr Wainman said Mr Simpson was a good footballer and they had played together two or three times previously.
The jury heard that Mr Wainman knocked out two of Mr Simpson's teeth when he punched him in the mouth during the non refereed evening game at the football centre in Swain House.
A third tooth, displaced by the blow, had to be removed.
Mr Wainman, a hard working man of good character, who hopes to join the Army, said someone punched him in the face after he struck Mr Simpson.
"I never meant to knock his teeth out or cause damage to him," he told the jury.