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Bellamy dodges ban as FA decide to warn striker

MANCHESTER CITY striker Craig Bellamy yesterday escaped punishment for his altercation with a pitch invader during Sunday&rsquo;s explosive derby at Manchester United.<br /><br />The Football Association decided only to issue Bellamy with a warning for the clash, in which he appeared to push the spectator in the face while the man was being held by stewards.<br /><br />Wales international Bellamy had been expected to be charged with improper conduct or even violent conduct, offences that typically carry bans of between one and three games.<br /><br />But the FA said referee Martin Atkinson had reviewed video evidence of the incident, which took place in the dying seconds of United&rsquo;s 4-3 win, and confirmed he would not have sent off Bellamy had he seen the flashpoint.<br /><br />The FA also warned United substitute Gary Neville about his boisterous goal celebration, which involved running down the touchline to revel in front of travelling City supporters.<br /><br />United, meanwhile, avoided censure for a half-time incident in which City substitute Javier Garrido was hit by a coin.<br /><br />The FA&rsquo;s treatment of Bellamy is a major fillip for City, who are already without several key forwards, including Emmanuel Adebayor, who was last week banned for violent conduct.<br /><br />City manager Mark Hughes earlier defended Bellamy, who is no stranger to controversy, arguing that his actions had been in self-defence. &ldquo;All Craig has done is go over there and tell the guy to get off the pitch,&rdquo; said Hughes, whose team face Fulham tonight in the Carling Cup. <br /><br />&ldquo;The guy made an aggressive move towards him and Craig wanted to get him off the pitch. <br /><br />&ldquo;Craig just put a defensive hand out to push him away. You can never be quite sure what is going to happen in those situations.&rdquo;<br />