SAINTS striker Lee Barnard has been cleared of assault.

The Southampton Football Club player walked free from court after a jury of eight women and four men took less than an hour to find him not guilty of the crime.

Lee Barnard had always denied the charge.

The footballer, dressed in a smart navy blue suit and white shirt, held his head in his hands as the unanimous verdict was returned.

Jurors have spent the week listening to evidence surrounding the glassing of Michael Matthewsian at the White House club in Southampton in the early hours of October 3 2010.

He was out with friends celebrating pal Tom Watson's victory in a cage fighting world championship bout against Alex Reid- glamour model Jordan's ex.

They heard how Mr Matthewsian was left covered in blood with a broken nose and cut face after he was repeatedly smashed with a glass or bottle.

The force of the blow was so hard it caused the glass to shatter.

Salisbury Crown Court heard from a number of clubbers who described chaotic scenes on the dance floor of the club.

Blood pouring from wounds, shards of glass and alcohol flew through the air- even hitting some witnesses, the court heard.

A fight then broke out on the floor as bouncers charged in to pull people out.

Lee Barnard's right hand was so badly cut on the inside his tendon had been severed and he needed an operation.

Mr Barnard, of Channel Way, Ocean Village, will now be able to rejoin his teammates as they try to secure promotion to the Premier League.