POLICE officers made five arrests in relation to last night's Carabao Cup clash between Southampton and Portsmouth.

A 42-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and an attempt to commit criminal damage. He remains in custody at this time.

A 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a pyrotechnic. He remains in custody at this time.

An 18-year-old man was given a conditional caution for a public order offence.

A 19-year-old man was given a conditional caution a public order offence.

A 20-year-old was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. He was later released with no further action to be taken.

Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “Our priority was to keep people safe and I’m pleased to be able to say this morning that our policing operation has achieved that.

“We knew that the majority of fans wanted to enjoy this match without having to worry about their safety and we did want we felt was needed to reassure them.

“Sadly we had to prepare for the potential that a minority would try and ruin it for everyone else and this required us, in conjunction with both clubs and our partners, to put plans in place to ensure we were ready to stop that.

“As expected, due to the nature of the routes to and from Fratton Park, there were times were groups of opposing fans came into close proximity to one another.

“However, as a result of our careful planning, we were able to keep these groups apart and get them to and from the stadium safely.

“I think the fact that we have had no reports of anyone being injured and only a few people arrested is a testament to the hard work that everyone has put into this operation.

“I would like to thank the fans for supporting our officers throughout the day and for those who helped us during the planning process.

“Today everyone is talking about what happened on the pitch, not off it, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Last night, Saints beat Portsmouth 4-0 at Fratton Park to progress to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Two first-half goals from Danny Ings and second-half goals from Cedric Soares and Nathan Redmond secured the win.

Ahead of last night's game, Hampshire Constabulary announced its policing operation would be the largest in the force's history.

Police said they would use horses, helicopters and drones to help them prevent violence breaking out and deal with any incidents that do occur.

Letters were also handed out to a selected group of fans of both teams, warning them of the consequences of creating disorder or violence.

​Police also activated stop-and-search and dispersal powers, covering an area from Southampton to Portsmouth, in a bid to help them combat disorder.