Sunday, September 20, 2015

20 September 2008 - Who Ya Gonna Call, Watford?

On 20 September 2008, Reading and Watford battled to a 2-2 draw thanks in part to a phantom goal.

Played before a crowd of 14,761 at Watford's Vicarage Road Stadium, the match was scoreless in the 13th minute when Watford midfielder John Eustace, defending his goal against Reading striker Noel Hunt, knocked the ball over the end line several yards wide of the post. Rather than call for a corner, however, linesman Nigel Bannister (pictured) flagged it as a goal to the astonishment of both sides. Watford protested, but the referee allowed the decision to stand.

Despite the setback, the home side rallied to take a 2-1 lead with goals from Tommy Smith (57') and John-Joe O'Toole (64'), but were undone by a late penalty. With three minutes left on the clock, Eustace tripped Reading winger Stephen Hunt in the box and Hunt converted the ensuing spot kick to earn the Royals a crucial point.

Reading manager Steve Coppell offered a replay, but the Football League said that the referee's decision was final.

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