By Chris Wright.
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock was left fuming at linesman Trevor Massey after seeing his side concede a contentious late goal, as Aston Villa secured a last gasp 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park in the FA Cup yesterday afternoon.
At 2-1 up in the 87th minute, Palace were looking odds-on to cause an upset by advancing past their Premier League opposition and into the lucrative quarter final stages, but were denied due to an error of judgement from linesman Massey.
When a late John Carew effort was saved by Palace ‘keeper Julian Speroni, the ball could clearly be seen deflecting off Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso before going out of play, but a corner kick was wrongly given. Stilian Petrov duly nodded home Stewart Downing’s centre to force a replay.
Warnock immediately vented his frustration at Massey’s decision to award Villa the dubious corner kick, by calling for the official to be suspended;
“[The officials] wait and wait to see which way to give it then see that a Premier League team are losing 2-1, so ‘We’ll give it to them’. That’s a disgrace. He should be banned for weeks, Mr Massey, because all he could do was smile.’
The result means that Palace (and their administrators) will at least reap some short-term consolation, as the prospect of a money-spinning replay at Villa Park next Wednesday will offer some much needed financial compensation for the cash-strapped Championship side.