Phantom goal referee withdraws from tie

STUART Attwell, the referee at the centre of the 'goal that never was' controversy, has withdrawn from officiating tomorrow night's Carling Cup tie at Portman Road.

STUART Attwell, the referee at the centre of the 'goal that never was' controversy, has withdrawn from officiating tomorrow night's Carling Cup tie at Portman Road.

Attwell awarded Reading a goal in their 2-2 draw against Watford on Saturday on the advice of Nigel Bannister, one of his assistants, following a corner even though the ball bounced over the byline about four or five feet wide of a post.

Nuneaton-born Attwell was originally appointed to take charge of tomorrow night's Carling Cup third round clash between Ipswich Town and Wigan. However, he has withdrawn because of “holiday” entitlement and instead will return to refereeing this weekend.

Attwell, who at the age of 25 is the youngest referee in the Premier League's 16-year history, has been replaced for tomorrow's match by Mike Dean from the Wirral.