An attacker who kicked his victim so hard that he left an imprint of his trainer on his face was caught after forensic scientists matched the sole of his shoes to the marks.
Scott Matthews left Michael Richardson, who was described in court as vulnerable, unconcscious in the street after the violent beating, which was captured on CCTV.
That footage was played at Arbroath Sheriff Court, where Matthews admitted a charge of assault to severe injury.
Prosecutors described the attack as "brutal and violent".
The CCTV film was the catalyst for Matthews' arrest with police identifying the 20-year-old as the attacker.
He was detained and police seized the factory worker's trainers for analysis.
Forensic scientists were then able to match the patterns on the sole to a series of parallel lines left on Mr Richardson's left cheek.
He suffered a broken jaw, a laceration to the back of his head which had to be glued shut, a cut to the left side of his head and bruising to his left eye socket.
Fiscal depute Hazel Anderson told the court: "In the Crown's view, the accused committed a brutal and violent attack against a vulnerable victim who was heavily under the influence of alcohol, whereby he was incapable of defending himself."
She said that two to three months before the attack the complainer had been accused by Matthews of assaulting his cousin.
Around 4pm on August 27 last year, Mr Richardson went out to socialise with football team-mates.
He consumed a large amount of alcohol in various pubs before leaving the Central Bar at 10pm where he was followed by Matthews.
Miss Anderson said: "The accused set upon the complainer by headbutting him to the left side of his head, causing him to lose balance, then grabbed hold of the complainer and punched him to the head three times before grabbing him round the neck and pulling him to the ground.
"At this stage a second, unidentified male, approached the complainer whilst he was on the ground and kicked him to the head or upper body then ran off. At the same time the accused punched the complainer four times to the head or upper body. The accused then stood up, straddled the complainer and with his left foot, stamped on the right side of his face."
Matthews, of Parkview Gardens, Arbroath, initially appeared in court charged with attempted murder. However, he pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of assault to severe injury.
He admitted that on August 27 at Brothock Bridge, Arbroath, he assaulted Mr Richardson and butted him on the head, seized him by the body, repeatedly punched him on the head and body, seized him by the neck and pulled him to the ground, stamped on his head, and kicked him on the head whereby he struck his head against a wall and was rendered unconscious, all to his injury.
Defence lawyer Nick Markowski said his client was under no illusions that his liberty was at stake but urged a sheriff to consider a community sentence.
Sheriff Peter Paterson agreed and instead of sending him to prison placed him on a restriction of liberty order for nine months, confining Matthews to his home from 5pm to 5am every day.
He said: "You will also pay £500 in compensation to your victim."
Matthews laughed and joked with friends as he left court, but made no comment on the case.