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Football: No Heidar feelings at goal that never was.

Byline: Andy DUNN

CLAUDIO Ranieri last night admitted that Watford deserved the outrageous slice of fortune that helped them earn a money-spinning replay at Stamford Bridge.

Heidar Helguson's header - which opened the scoring in the 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road - was clearly shown NOT to have crossed the line.

But the gracious Chelsea boss said: "I make mistakes, the players make mistakes, the referees makes mistakes and the linesman makes mistakes. It is not important.

"But I think in the future in Premier League games we should have videos for those types of incidents and I am not just saying that because of one mistake.

"Overall, Watford deserved the draw. We have no excuses - not the decisions, not the pitch. We will have to do far, far better than that to win the replay."

And Watford manager Ray Lewington also thought it was a fair outcome despite the Helguson controversy.

"Yes," said Lewington, "it seems that our first goal might not have crossed the line but our lads are convinced they should have had a penalty when Gavin Mahon appeared to be tripped.

"But I think it was a fair result. I enjoyed the way we played and I enjoyed the game as a whole as well.

"There are those who say the FA Cup has lost its glamour and its magic but I think this game proved that it can still have it."

Lewington admitted that progression to the fourth round is now a long, long shot.

But he was realistic to accept that this was a great result from a financial point of view.

Lewington said: "We've had pounds 265,000 TV money and the share of the gate receipts from this game and we'll get the same from Chelsea. That is an enormous help to us.

"We knew the one way we might cause them problems today was with high balls in and it worked for a while."

And Ranieri - for the second time in succession - refused to make any changes during the game.

He quipped: "Maybe now, you'll stop calling me Tinkerman!"
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2004
Words:346
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