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Goal controversy at Yeovil Town
10:57am Thursday 29th August 2013 in Yeovil Town FC
WHEN is a goal not a goal — that is the question which has been discussed with great gusto among Yeovil Town fans this week.
It comes following amazing scenes at Huish Park on Tuesday night in the Glovers’ Capital One Cup Second Round clash with Birmingham City.
The Blues were moving towards the Third Round with a 2-1 advantage when the Glovers equalised at the end of 90 minutes in controversial circumstances.
Former Yeovil defender Dan Burn, now plying his trade with Birmingham, went down claiming he was injured and the Blues keeper Colin Doyle knocked the ball into touch to allow his team-mate to receive treatment.
The referee decided that no treatment was necessary and Yeovil with the throw-in decided to play on — rather than the unwritten gentleman’s agreement of knocking the ball back to the opposition following an injury to one of their players.
Yeovil skipper Byron Webster had the ball and decided to plant a long range effort over Doyle and into the net.
The goal stood, although Birmingham were furious at the supposed unsporting act by the Glovers.
The game moved into extra-time and Yeovil took the lead for the first time on the night when Luke Ayling scored a super goal — his first goal in 145 appearances for the Glovers.
But then more drama when, at the start of the second period of extra-time, Yeovil allowed Birmingham’s Lee Novak to walk through unaided and put the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-3.
The game finished all-square after 120 minutes of football and the tie had to be decided on a penalty shoot-out which Birmingham won 3-2.
The Birmingham camp said “justice had been done” following Yeovil’s alleged act on unsporting behaviour with Webster’s goal.
It could be argued that Birmingham had been time-wasting at the end of 90 minutes to try and see the game out; just as any team would probably do.
But Yeovil manager Gary Johnson said afterwards that the football authorities needed to get their heads together and come up with proper rules and regulations on what to do in such circumstances, rather than rely on a gentleman’s agreement.
Johnson said: “I wanted us to play on but I didn't expect the Birmingham side to stand still, and didn't expect Byron to hook a goal in from 40 yards.
“I think people should look at this. How many teams are going to kick the ball out for their own players in the last minute?
“This kind of thing is happening too often at the minute.”
Johnson said he had apologised to Birmingham manager Lee Clark.
“I apologised to Lee Clark,” he said. “On reflection it was ungentlemanly. However, we get a little bit fed up with teams kicking it out for their own players in the last minute of games here, when we're trying to get a goal back. I wanted us to play on.
“Then you get 20-odd people in your face, and I had this gremlin in my head about it, and so I just said play on.
I didn't expect the sequence of events.
“I apologise to the Birmingham fans, their staff and their players, because they were disappointed.”
Johnson said he felt disappointed that the controversy would take all the headlines locally rather than fact that Ayling had broken his goal duck with an absolute scorcher and that Yeovil had played some of their best football for a while.
“They found their Championship legs tonight,” said Johnson. “They looked alright.”
Club captain Jamie McAllister played the whole 120 minutes of the match having come back from injury, while striker Paddy Madden was rested from the line-up.
The League Cup exit came just a few days after Yeovil had slunk to a 3-0 defeat at Huish Park to Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship.
That result left Yeovil down in 19th spot in the table.
This Saturday they are back at home again when they play host to Reading in a 3pm kick-off.
Johnson will be hoping that his team put the positives from Tuesday’s performance into putting in a good display against Reading.