Stoke assistant keen on goal-line technology


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The Independent Football

Stoke assistant boss Dave Kemp threw his club's weight behind the introduction of goal-line technology introduced after they came within inches of grabbing victory against Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

The Potters were unable to find their best form in a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium and could have few complaints with their failure to take three points against a resilient visiting outfit.

However, Stoke almost snatched a winner in the second half when Marc Wilson's header struck the underside of the bar before being scrambled away by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Replays showed referee Mark Clattenburg was correct not to award a goal, with the whole of the ball having not quite crossed the line.

Yet Kemp believes the incident provides further proof of why video replays should be brought in.

Referring to the delays in play that have been cited as an argument against technology being used, he said: "To us it seems that it could be done quite quickly.

"Referees have a very difficult job and we haven't got any complaints. We don't want every decision to be referred. You accept you don't get always get the right decisions, that's football, but the goal-line technology is something that could be used quite quickly and easily.

"They have a Premier League ref on the side, it wouldn't take two seconds for him to look at it quickly and they are all microphoned up, but we have all heard the reasons why they are not doing it."

Villa manager Alex McLeish echoed Kemp's sentiments, but was understandably keen to focus on the improvement shown by his side in their last two outings.

Having been comfortably beaten by Liverpool on December 18, Villa gave a much better account of themselves when losing to Arsenal last midweek and built on that display with a solid performance yesterday.

Had they shown a little more composure in the final third, the visitors - who struck the post through Emile Heskey in the first half - could even have claimed a second successive away win.

McLeish is now hoping to see further progress at the weekend, when his men travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea.

"We go with confidence and we have to believe that it's a great challenge and not a threat," said the former Scotland boss.

"It's something not to fear because I don't think we have anything to lose in that one."

Asked if Villa were heading in the right direction, McLeish added: "I'm very pleased with the last two games. I think the fans were very happy (at Stoke) in terms of our endeavour if not the final touch and they supported us brilliantly.

"The main thing was to be up close and personal, the way Stoke are with other teams, and the players did that. I'm pleased with the whole team."

McLeish does, however, have fitness worries over Heskey who was withdrawn with an Achilles problem, and Darren Bent (thigh).