The decision came 15 minutes from the end, when Dave Watson's clearance and Duncan Ferguson's header sent Nick Barmby running into the box. A combination of Adrian Moses and Clint Marcelle saw him spread-eagled on the turf.
"It was absolutely never a penalty in a million years and the referee knows it wasn't," said Wilson, who also claimed that his complaint to the referee that Barmby had dived was answered by the counter-claim that Barnsley's players had been doing so all afternoon.
For all Barnsley's arguments, which saw Peter Shirtliff become one of their five players booked, Gerald Ashby's verdict was irreversible and Gary Speed's second goal put Everton 3-1 ahead.
Barnsley showed a measure of the dogged persistence that will be needed this season when Darren Barnard brought them back to within a goal of Everton with a fine volley from their next attack. But then Barmby's pass took a telling deflection that delivered it perfectly into the stride of the substitute, John Oster, and an afternoon that could have finished with Everton bottom of the Premiership table ended with an optimistic gloss on it.
There was more quantity in the goalscoring than there was quality in the football, although there was nothing wrong with the curling corner from Andy Hinchcliffe or Speed's emphatic header with which Everton took the lead after 11 minutes.
For Barnsley, Neil Redfearn's well-known propensity to shoot on sight was rewarded with a wicked deflection off an Everton defender that left Paul Gerrard utterly helpless.
If Everton feel like celebrating anything, it should be the rich promise shown by the 17-year-old Danny Cadamarteri, making his full debut up front. Cadamarteri showed great panache and confidence and thoroughly deserved his first goal for the club after Ferguson had nodded down Graham Stuart's cross.
There was also a case for some muted applause for Barmby, who seemed out of place at Goodison for the best part of a year. He contributed energetically, as illustrated by his role in the third and fourth goals. His manager, Howard Kendall, was keen to dispel any doubt over his part in the penalty. "From where I was sitting, Nick Barmby got in front of them. Whether there was contact we will have to see on video, but I certainly wouldn't encourage players to dive without contact," he said.Reuse content