In the end it was just an interesting talking point.
Such are the fine lines in football that a woeful piece of unsportsmanship by Sheffield Wednesday’s opponents, Yeovil Town, is now just a blot on the Somerset club’s reputation rather than being a reason for more pressure to be heaped on Owls boss Gary Megson.
Let’s clear it up straight away.
Wednesday were leading 1-0 through an excellent far-post header by debutant David McGoldrick from a right-wing cross by Ben Marshall after ten minutes.
The Owls were well in control and looked on course to hand the Glovers a bit of a beating on the lush turf of Huish Park.
Then came the moment.
A Yeovil pass went out of play down the Wednesday left. No matter, the referee had already blown his whistle so an injured home player could receive attention.
Convention suggests that the resulting drop-ball would be volleyed back to the Owls.
Wrong. Somehow Luke Ayling managed to chip the ball into no-man’s land between Wednesday skipper Rob Jones and goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell.
The eyes of Town striker Kieran Agard lit up. Nippy at the best of times, Agard suddenly was in full flight chasing down the ‘pass’. Jones reacted, so did O’Donnell.
In the confusion the two collided. The ball ran free to Agard who slid home in front of the enraged Owls fans.
It wasn’t just the Wednesdayites who went potty. Led by the irate James O’Connor, the visitors crowded first round the referee and then the home team dugout.
Megson and his staff began negotiations with the opposite bench – you can imagine it wasn’t as polite as a Commons select committee.
After all the fuss had died down the goal stood, of course. No laws had been broken, but surely Yeovil would see the error of their ways and allow Wednesday to retake the lead? No.
O’Connor, who was in top form throughout the match, summed it up best afterwards.
He said: “I thought it was very poor. Everyone saw what went on and in this day and age I think it was out of order. I find stuff like that really hard to take. You should think more about yourself than to do that.
“Their lad said they will give it back. When that happens you just let it go through.
“If you look at their striker he sets off, which means Rob (Jones) has to set off because he’d be in on goal. Then Richard (O’Donnell) comes out and the two of them collide. Rob has a suspected broken cheekbone.
“The ref says he can’t do anything about it. I think he could have had a word with their manager. I think it’s really poor and football doesn’t want to see that.”
The goal clearly shook Wednesday. Ten minutes after his first strike Agard was on hand again to shoot home under the on rushing O’Donnell after the keeper’s defence hadn’t properly cleared a corner.
Half-time came with the visitors ruing their misfortune. Their performance had been light years better than the drab effort at Stevenage on Tuesday, yet they still trailed.
However, Megson had seen enough during the opening 45 minutes to suggest a comeback was possible. He said: “We were so on top, there was no threat from them and the equaliser really threw us off course.
“We said at half-time that we desperately needed to score the next goal and if we did I think the momentum will then switch to ourselves, which it did.”
After the interval it wasn’t as if Wednesday overran Yeovil. There were good performances from the Owls players but collectively it required huge amounts of hard work to eventually break down Yeovil.
Eight minutes into the second period Julian Bennett, on for the injured Jones in the first half, levelled with a strong header from Marshall’s left win corner.
Bennett’s header seemed to be powered by the anger he and his colleagues had felt at Agard’s earlier equaliser.
Yeovil rarely threatened but when they did O’Donnell stood firm to deny former Owls’ striker Steven MacLean from close range.
Wednesday’s winner came from a familiar source. Marshall, having one of his best games since his on loan move from Stoke, was the provider for the third time.
The winger’s left-wing free kick was delivered to the back post. Madine rose unmarked to bullet another header past Glovers keeper Jed Steer.
Cue delirium behind the goal. ‘Goal machine’ Madine was in full working order to secure Wednesday’s first maximum on the road.
Some have questioned the Owls players’ bottle when playing away from Hillsborough. O’Connor said this display showed the real character of the team:
“The biggest thing for me is that it’s pleasing and proud to have something like that happen to you and still win the game,” he said.
“I think it shows tremendous character and I think it speaks volumes about the staff we have here and everyone involved. It sends out a great message.
“It’s now up to us to get a good week’s training and kick on against Exeter. It’s a big game for us.
“When you want to get promoted you need to be strong at home and strong away.
“The most pleasing thing is that we were able to react the way we did. That makes me very proud.”
It’s sportsmanship or whatever the right thing to do is. The lad has knocked it back. He hasn’t knocked it back well enough. We can’t be telling other people what to do because that’s up to themselves. But if it had been the other way round then we’d have let them score.