A MANHUNT has been launched after football hooligans pelted police and fans with bottles.

It comes following the largest ever police operation during a Hampshire football match.

The much-anticipated Carabao Cup game between Southampton and Portsmouth on September 24 saw fans clashing in the streets outside Fratton Park.

Despite riot police forming a wall to keep fans apart, some still caused chaos and disorder by hurling coins, bottles, stones and smoke grenades at each other.

Police received reports of items launched at officers and fans in Goldsmith Avenue.

Meanwhile, in the Lower North stand of the stadium a bottle was thrown shortly after the final whistle.

During the mayhem, a man was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after punching a police horse.

A video shared on social media showed a man punching the animal before being chased by the mounted policeman and then being detained.

The match, which saw Premier League Southampton beat League One Portsmouth 0-4, was the first between the two rivals in seven years.

Hampshire Police confirmed that five men were arrested during the evening.

A 52-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and attempted criminal damage however was released under investigation.

A 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a pyrotechnic.

An 18-year-old man and a 19-year-old man were given a conditional caution for a public order offence and a 20-year-old arrested on suspicion of a public order offence was later released with no further action taken.

The police report to have worked closely together with both clubs to ensure a safe match for all those attending, as well as those living and working close to Fratton Park.

Adding that their priority was to keep people safe and “fortunately, as a result of their careful planning, their policing operation achieved this”.

According to police, there were “regrettably” a small number of people who were intent on trying to cause disorder as fans left the stadium.

Since the match last year officers have been analysing CCTV and footage from body-cameras to investigate the exact circumstances of what happened.

They want to hold any trouble-makers accountable for their actions.

Hampshire police have now released CCTV images of 17 people they would like to speak to in connection with the incidents.

They are appealing to the public to identify the people in these images as we believe they can help with their investigations.

Detective Chief Inspector John McGonigle said: “We knew the majority of fans wanted to enjoy this match without having to worry about any trouble.

“Sadly, we had to prepare for the potential that a minority would try and ruin it for everyone else and this is what happened in Goldsmith Avenue after the game.

“There were a large number of people in this area at the time who will have no doubt seen others throwing items at our officers and other fans.

“We need to hear from you because we need to work together to ensure these people are held responsible for their actions so that they cannot put the safety of others at risk again at future matches. They cannot be allowed to ruin the reputation of the genuine fans who simply went to enjoy the game.”

He added: “We continue to work closely with both football clubs to prevent violent or aggressive behaviour

which simply will not be tolerated at matches.

“If you are found to be committing an offence, we will actively seek the appropriate prosecution. You could also find yourself facing further sanctions from the club.

“If you think you know any of those pictured or if you have any information that can help with our investigation, then please get in touch.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the police on 101, quoting Operation Net, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.