Blackburn Rovers 0 Everton 0: Moyes calls for more clarity in offside law

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The Independent Online

David Moyes believes the offside law must be changed after the confusion surrounding Andrew Johnson's disallowed goal at Ewood Park on Saturday. The Everton manager had to ask for an explanation after the raising of the flag that denied the striker five minutes from time.

The decision might cost Everton millions should their Champions League ambitions fall two points short but Moyes says action must be taken regardless of any consequences for his team.

"When the managers don't know the rules, the players don't know the rules and the journalists don't know the rules something has to be done to make it more clear," Moyes said.

The flag against Johnson, who looked onside when he collected James Vaughan's pass before putting the ball in the net, left the Everton manager as mystified as spectators, many of whom – including the Blackburn manager, Mark Hughes – assumed Johnson had been pulled up for being offside when "inactive" in the first phase of what became a two-part move.

Johnson was judged to be offside also in the second phase, which Everton disputed, but Moyes says his concern is not so much that he disagreed with the decision but that it needed to be explained to him. "There are too many areas where goals might be given or might not be given and we are really unsure," he said. "A few months ago I arranged a meeting where we had referees and assistants in with our players and there was nearly a riot because we could not believe what we were hearing and seeing."

Unlike Hughes, who will lose Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn to suspension away to Arsenal next week, after Alan Wiley increased Blackburn's total yellow-card count to 51 for the season, Moyes would not criticise the officials. His alleged comments about the referee, Mark Clattenburg – later shown to have been misreported – landed him an improper-conduct charge after the Merseyside derby in October and, though the charge was dropped, he vowed to keep his counsel.

Had Johnson's goal stood, Everton would have been deserving winners. Although it took a fine save by Tim Howard, the Everton goalkeeper, to deny David Bentley late on, Everton had hit a post through Manuel Fernandes and had seen a header from Phil Jagielka cleared off the line, as well as having a good case for a penalty against Zurab Khizanishvili for a foul on Johnson.

Blackburn Rovers (4-1-4-1): Friedel; Emerton, Khizanishvili, Ooijer, Warnock; Reid; Derbyshire (Kerimoglu 73), Bentley, Dunn (McCarthy 56), Pedersen; Santa Cruz. Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Berner, Roberts.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Arteta, Carsley, Fernandes, Osman (Vaughan 75); Cahill; Johnson. Substitutes not used: Wessels (gk), Hibbert, Valente, Anichebe.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

Booked: Blackburn: Dunn, Khizanishvili, Emerton, Pedersen. Everton: Howard, Arteta.

Man of the match: Jagielka.

Attendance: 27,946.

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