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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 11:20 GMT
Wilkinson feels cheated
Sunderland players protest to the referee
The penalty decision was hotly disputed
Sunderland manager Howard Wilkinson was seething after his team's controversial FA Cup exit at the hands of Watford.

The Division One side went through to the next round thanks to a controversial match-winning penalty from Tommy Smith.

Referee Mike Dean ordered the spot-kick to be re-taken after Smith's first effort was saved by Sunderland keeper Thomas Sorensen, who was judged to have moved early.

"The re-take was a double whammy. I suppose it was true by the letter of the law but how many times do you see it happen?" Wilkinson said.

Sunderland dominated the first half, we improved in the second half and we did get the rub of the green sometimes

Ray Lewington

"The referee told Jason McAteer on the pitch that the penalty was for use of the elbow then afterwards has said it was for a raised arm. I didn't know a raised arm was an offence.

"In the overall context of the game I feel very angry, bitterly disappointed, and cheated in the sense that we didn't deserve that result.

"I am not taking anything away from Watford though. They came here, did a terrific job and good luck to them in the next round - and the one after that I hope."

Watford's manager Ray Lewington admitted fortune had favoured his side, especially concerning the re-taken penalty.

"I think it's the first time I have ever had that," he said.

"You certainly don't often get it away from home. When we missed the first I had already turned away and then one of the subs said it was bring taken again.

Watford match-winner Tommy Smith (right)
Smith's penalty secured the win for Watford

"Neil Cox is our usual penalty-taker but Smithy grabbed the ball, and I am great believer that penalty-taking is all about wanting to do it, and you can't force people to do it.

"I was trying to get Gavin Mahon to take the second one but fortunately Tommy over-ruled him and fortunately he did."

Lewington also praised his side for making life difficult for Sunderland after they got the goal.

He added: "Sunderland dominated the first half, we improved in the second half and we did get the rub of the green sometimes.

"Sunderland will feel they were unlucky, and they were, but our players were full of character, worked hard and got bodies in the way. We were fantastic."


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