Coppell needs home help
Steve Coppell insists Reading will not be throwing in the towel despite suffering a late defeat at Burnley.
Last Updated: 09/05/09 10:46pm
Steve Coppell insists Reading will not be throwing in the towel despite suffering a late 1-0 defeat to Burnley in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.
The Royals had been looking comfortable at Turf Moor before Andre Bikey gifted the home side the chance to break the deadlock when he needlessly hauled back Steven Thompson in the penalty area.
Veteran Graham Alexander made the most of Bikey's poor decision by slamming home the ensuing spot-kick, although things got even worse for Bikey when he was sent off in injury time.
Reading now need a win on home soil if they are to keep their promotion hopes alive, and, despite struggling at the Madejski Stadium of late Coppell insists there is everything to play for.
"It's mission impossible the way we've been going recently, but there's all to play for. We've got a home game. It'll be a tough game," he told Sky Sports.
"Burnley again showed their resilience. They just stick in there, they are a hard-working side and full respect to them. We've got to do what we've not done recently and that's win at home. It's still close."
Coppell was unhappy with referee Martin Atkinson's decision to give Burnley a penalty as he felt Thompson may not even have been in the 18-yard box.
The Royals boss believes that if there is an element of doubt then the benefit should favour the defending side.
"The referee was probably about seven or eight yards away. There was a shirt tug without doubt," he continued.
100 per cent support
"For him to give it from where he was without the 100 per cent support of the linesman was at best a 'guess-timate'.
"There's no way he could say for certain it was in or out. I've watched it five or six times now on a small computer and it's almost impossible to see.
"Even with the camera right along the 18-yard box. I don't know where the benefit of the doubt should go, but surely if there's no clarity in such an important game then it shouldn't be given."
Bikey reacted poorly to being shown red and ripped off his shirt before slamming it to the ground, actions that Coppell could not defend, adding: "There is no space for that in football. He got 100 per cent what he deserved."