Coppell offers to replay 'phantom goal' match

The Reading manager, Steve Coppell, said yesterday his side would not object to replaying Saturday's match against Watford which featured an opening goal credited to the Royals when the ball crossed the line three feet wide of the post, although the Football League later confirmed the 2-2 result would stand.

The Hornets defender John Eustace was adjudged by the referee Stuart Attwell to have put through his own net despite replays clearly showing the ball going out of play. "We don't want to be seen to be taking advantage of anything," Coppell said. "I have sympathy with Watford and I really don't know what to say to make it right. I think everybody would be happy to replay it, but then where does it stop?"

Watford said they were not seeking a replay but would seek clarification over the yellow cards shown by Attwell "during the chaotic scenes that followed his incorrect decision".

Andy Williamson, the Football League's chief operating officer, said: "The referee's decision regarding whether a goal is scored or not is final and binding. Given this explicit position, the League cannot intervene."

The Professional Game Match Officials echoed the comments. "Football is a human game played at fast pace. We regret this error of judgement and will work to determine how this occurred in an attempt to minimise such mistakes in the future."

The Watford manager, Aidy Boothroyd, turns his attention tonight to the visit of West Ham in the Carling Cup. His goalkeeper Mart Poom is out after dislocating a shoulder, with Jobi McAnuff [back] will also be absent. Freddie Sears may deputise for Carlton Cole for West Ham, with Dean Ashton and Craig Bellamy still out.

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