Bashley request replay after 'phantom' goal
Bashley Town lost 3-2 to Gosport Borough in their FA Cup first qualifying round replay, but the Hampshire club have appealed for a replay after a clear goal was not given.
With the game tied at 2-2, Bashley's James Stokoe struck in the closing stages for what looked to have been the winner.
The 'goal' should have secured his team's passage into the next round as the players, management and fans celebrated.
The frustrated Gosport goalkeeper reacted by angrily kicking the ball through his side netting.
Astonishingly, the referee then proceeded to wave for a corner, completely unaware that Stokoe had scored.
The assistant referee also missed the incident and Gosport went on to win the match after extra-time, leading Bashley to lodge an appeal with the FA's competitions board.
Vice chairman Tim Titheridge stated: "We feel cheated. We don't blame the referee for not seeing the incident but we do blame the Gosport players for not owning up."
The episode looks set to lose the Evo-Stik Southern League team approximately £10,000, unless they are awarded a replay.
The referee was reportedly horrified at learning of his error.
Titheridge also claims that the assistant referee had been notified of a hole in the side netting at half-time but did nothing about it.
The incident echoes Frank Lampard's infamous 'ghost goal' against Germany in World Cup 2010, after which Sepp Blatter performed a dramatic u-turn to support renewed calls for goal-line technology.
Fifa have approved investment to ensure that these debates are soon a thing of the past at the top-level, but it is unlikely that high-tech systems will ever filter through to the game's lower reaches.
The margin for human error will live on in places like Bashley, and with it the grassroots charm of relying on the ref's eyes.
But that will be scant consolation to Titheridge if the appeal is not upheld. He concluded: "We have also written to Gosport asking them to write to the FA but we do not expect anything to happen."
by Chris Cahill