Fright night of luckless Alan

Night of frustrations: Despair against Yeovil for Alan Irvine pictured with Billy Barr &  Andy Rhodes
Night of frustrations: Despair against Yeovil for Alan Irvine pictured with Billy Barr & Andy Rhodes
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ONE of Howard Wilkinson’s sayings when he managed Wednesday was: “Winning is a matter of luck; just ask any loser.”

Well, the Owls drew against Yeovil and Alan Irvine never tries to fall back on bad luck as an excuse.

But it’s no wonder if he could scarcely believe the amazing events of Tuesday night - and fans will still be talking about them at Hillsborough tomorrow as the club hope for a fairer run of the ball against Hereford.

Film evidence has cast new light on the incident which probably cost the Owls two points but possibly could have cost Irvine his job, if Milan Mandaric had not been so supportive.

The ref penalised Paul Heffernan for encroachment at the first penalty because he was in the D - which is against the rules. Two Yeovil players were inside the area and closer to the ball than him.

But at the moment when Giles Coke hit the retaken penalty, Yeovil again had two men inside the box. So this too should have been retaken.

Irvine also felt the disallowing of the goal was astonishing because he feels encroachment is common but rarely penalised.

Yeovil’s first goal came via an unfortunate deflection off blameless Tommy Spurr, when Gary Teale, who was playing on the right wing and would have helped to combat the attack, was off the pitch addressing a contact lens problem.

Add to that the brilliance of Yeovil’s keeper, and Wednesday’s other near misses, and Irvine is entitled to feel as frustrated as fans. You could argue that the ref did Wednesday a favour by sending off two Yeovil players, but those were correct decisions.

It wasn’t all misfortune: Yeovil’s second goal was down to poor marking. And Wednesday’s position in the table is not down to one result.

But this was one of the craziest games seen at Hillsborough in the last 30 years and it came just when the manager and the team needed a win.

Irvine still has sympathy from Milan Mandaric. The chairman told The Star: “It was a frustrating night for everyone on Tuesday.

“We have to come through this downturn. I cannot panic. I have got to be composed and give everybody proper support and see how we can shake this off and get back to winning ways. We don’t want to make rash decisions.”

And his message to supporters is: “Trust me. Stay with the decisions and do not to panic. I appreciate that in the last game we weren’t great but the supporters got behind the team.

“They booed at the end but I don’t blame them for that. I want them to trust my decisions. I am doing what is best for them and the club.”

The team have still gone up two places and are only four points off the play-off positions.

However, they are also 10th in the table and eight points off second spot - which means a big task if they are to hit the chairman’s target of automatic promotion.

If Wednesday suffer an upset tomorrow, then the heat on Irvine is likely to be turned up.

But it also a chance to hone their form with a game outside the League One slog and add glamour with a place in the FA Cup last 16.