NON LEAGUE: GRAYS Athletic goalkeeper Lamar Johnson has had his year-long ban from football reduced to nine months. The Blues stopper was suspended from all ‘footballing activity’ until January 1, 2015, and was fined £550 for an incident after a Ryman Premier League match against Bury Town last September.

Although he initially saw his appeal to the Football Association overturned, a recent hearing has seen the ban reduced by three months.

And this means that he will be able to return to action in September. The decision has delighted the young guardian. Johnson told the Thurrock Gazette he was pleased at the ruling, but admitted he faced a battle to get back into the side and win back the support from the terraces. “It is good the ban has been reduced as I won’t miss much of next season. “However, I face a battle to get back into the side.

“George Kamurasi has put in some really good performances, especially his man of the match performance against East Thurrock United. “I will have to leave it down to management and hard work and see what the outcome is,” he said. “I think I face a bigger challenge winning the home fans back over to be honest.

“But I look forward to challenge.

“And I can’t wait to get back into training and show what I’m made of.” The governing body originally banned Johnson for breaching Football Association Rule E3, which says he was in or around the tunnel area after the end of the fixture and exhibited violent conduct and/or threatening behaviour. It is understood he overturned tables and smashed a glass after a conversation with a Bury player following a 4-3 win. Johnson is still at Grays in a dual scouting and coaching role until he is eligible for selection once again. He is working with the club’s goalkeepers at all age levels.

The club confirmed the decision on its website. A spokesman said: “Goalkeeper Lamar Johnson has had his 12-month ban reduced to a 9-month ban from all football and will be able to return to action in September.”

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