[caption id="attachment_70" align="alignright" width="128" caption="Reading's opener flies into the net"][/caption]
"..but funny things happen when you least expect it, especially at Watford…"
That's what I said at the end of my last post after the defeat to Plymouth - looking forward to the Reading game. Funny things can happen. Crikey, did they happen!
I don't suppose I can say much that hasn't been said or thought already. The decision to award the "phantom" goal was completely and utterly bonkers. The whole thing just beggars belief.
The one concession I am willing to make to the linesman is that, yes, the ball DID cross the line. Definitely. He was spot on there. The fact that the ball was some 4 yards wide of the goal however, usually means that either a goal kick or corner is awarded. I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean a goal. There are a whole load of factors that should have indicated to our flag wielding friend that it wasn't a goal - the ball should have been obscured by the net, the players should have run off appealing for a goal, you know all the usual stuff. What actually happened was that every single player in both a yellow and blue shirt simply trotted back to the centre circle, ready for the goal kick. Surely something in his brain must have been telling him he was making a mistake?
Our fearless leader has been saying in the press that he doesn't blame the ref. He is of the opinion that if his colleague (the linesman) is telling him a goal has been scored, then he can do nothing but accept it and award it. Codswallop. The ref, like the 14,000 fans and 22 players should have been alert enough to realise that the ball was nowhere near going in. Nowhere near. He is just as culpable as the linesman in my view, and I will be very, very disappointed if they both don't face a very, very lengthy period away from the game.
Should Reading have let us score an equaliser? Lets face facts, they all knew they hadn't scored. Maybe. Would Watford have done so if the boot had been on the other foot? I doubt it, so I think there is our asnwer.
I don't really know what else to say on the subject - the Country will be waking up to it with Sky Sports News and the 15 seconds of coverage "The Championship" will give to it before moving on to Ned Boulding interviewing the Macclesfield mascot, and everyone will see it, everyone will know. I guess everyone will laugh too. Unbeleivable.
Steve Coppell aluded to it after the game, and I agree. I think this injustice did us a favour. I very much doubt that we would have heard the Vicarage Road crowd in such fine voice had we not suffered so hugely at the hands of the officials. I also doubt that the team would have raised their game to the degree they did, and I definitely don't think we would have scored twice. we may have done, but I doubt it.
On the balance of play, I thought a draw was a fair result. Scott Loach performed near on heroics a couple of times, and I dread to think how many dangerous looking crosses Reading got into the box. From where I was sat it was only a matter of time before Reading got their equaliser, it's just a shame it came as a result of such a poor challnge. Hey ho.
A great team performance though, with Hoskins defying nature to still be running around at the final whistle - he took a fearful battering from Bikey throughout. John-Joe O'Toole managed to keep going too, which was good to see, whilst Tommy worked his socks off again. For a team who have lost their previous two games as well as most of their squad to injury, this was a great effort, and one which I appreciated greatly. Lets hope we can sort out our treatment room, get some players fit and keep this battling spirit going.
So all in all, a pretty crazy day. Bizarre decisions, a noisy crowd, penalties, late equalisers - the works. What fun!