Linesman in firing line after "ghost goal"

September 21, 2008

A leading official has claimed that the linesman who gave a goal instead of a corner for Reading in the Championship clash at Watford "will regret'' his mistake.

Nigel Bannister, Stuart Atwell
GettyImages / IanWaltonGuilty: Linesman Nigel Bannister and referee Stuart Atwell at Vicarage Road on Saturday
Linesman Nigel Bannister farcically flagged for a goal after the ball crossed the goalline wide of the goal following a challenge between John Eustace and Royals striker Noel Hunt.

Despite not a single Reading player appealing for the 'goal', 25-year-old referee Stuart Attwell gave Steve Coppell's men a 1-0 lead.

Watford eventually rallied to claim a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road but assistant referee's manager for Professional Game Match Officials, Paul Rejer, admits that Bannister will be given some "operational advice''.

He told Watford's official website: "It appears an error has been made and it will be reviewed by us.

"Nobody likes making errors and if it is a serious error, which we have got to review, then obviously he'll regret it.

"The assistant referee gave what he saw and if it is incorrect then we will look at that and give him operational advice.

"From his position and angle it appeared the ball had crossed the line for a goal. He has made a human error.

"When the ball is bobbling about in the penalty area it is difficult to know that the ball has crossed the line.

"Performances by referees and assistant referees are reviewed every game, both on the day and by DVD.''

Hornets manager Adrian Boothroyd managed to remain philosophical about the decision after the game but admitted he was expecting a phone call from the national group manager of the Professional Game Match Officials.

Boothroyd, who was sent off for protesting against the 'goal', has struck up a good relationship with Dave Allison after querying a number of poor decisions over the last 12 months but admits none of them have been as bad as Bannister's error.

Boothroyd said: "I do think referees have a difficult job and I'm the first to get on the phone to Keith Hackett and Dave Allison when I think that things aren't right.

"I know they appreciate the feedback but it could be censored this time.

"I get an assessment form to fill in after every game and I will fill it in extra carefully this week.

"It it has been a major decision in the past then I have got a call on the Monday from Dave Allison and I have a good relationship with him.

"But I seem to be talking to him more than anyone at the minute. I'll have to get him on my Friends and Family list on the phone to save a few quid.

"But these things supposedly even themselves out. So by the time I get to Fergie's age you won't believe how much luck I will be getting.''