A FORMER Bolton Wanderers player told a civil hearing that his football career was ended by a “reckless” leg-breaking tackle.

Marcus Hallows, aged 34, of Harwood, was playing for Altrincham FC in March 2005 in a crucial game against Ashton United in the Conference North Division.

Mr Hallows suffered an open fracture of his shin in a challenge by Ashton defender Danny White, just minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 70th minute of the match, Manchester Civil Justice Centre heard yesterday.

Mr Hallows is now suing the player and the club for £32,500 to compensate for loss of earnings.

The court was told that, with the score at 1-1, and with only 20 minutes of the match remaining, Mr Hallows was presented with an opportunity to score.

His close range shot was saved by the goalkeeper. The defender’s attempt to block him from shooting was described by Mr Hallows as “needless, reckless and potentially dangerous”.

Describing the moment of the challenge, he told the hearing: “When the ball was at my feet, the distance that Danny was away from me should have told him that, with the force of him coming towards myself, there was going to be significant risk of injury. The ball had gone. He was very late.”

Mr Hallows said after the shot his right foot went back into the ground and he felt “a thud like a sledge hammer”.

The court was told he heard a crack in his leg, but play continued.

Mr Hallows said: “If the referee had seen what happened he would have given a penalty and the player would have been sent off.”

Mr White, who lives in Ripley, Derbyshire, told the court he got a touch on the ball with his right foot - a claim disputed by Mr Hallows.

But the defender said his momentum carried him into the striker and his trailing left leg came into contact with Hallows’ standing right leg.

Mr White denied he had endangered the safety of Mr Hallows. The court heard Mr Hallows did not believe Mr White intended to break his leg After the incident Mr Hallows said he knew “95 per cent” he would not play football again. At the end of the 2004/05 season Altrincham FC were promoted to the league now called the Blue Square Premier. Mr Hallows told the court he had played at that level before.

Today the court is due to hear expert evidence from former Tottenham Hotspur and England defender Gary Mabbutt, as well as former Premier League referee Jeff Winter.

Mr Hallows played for Wanderers Reserves during the 1995/96 season under Roy MacFarland and Colin Todd.

steven.thompson @theboltonnews.co.uk