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Warnock blasts bungling official over Petrov leveller

Neil Warnock feels an assistant referee denied Crystal Palace a place in the quarter-final of the FA Cup.

But the Palace manager is delighted to have earned a replay against Aston Villa at Villa Park a week on Wednesday, which could pay off a chunk of the club's £30m debts.

Warnock could even be handed the bonus of playing a weakened Villa side as the replay is scheduled just four days before they play Manchester United in the Carling Cup final.

It did not stop Warnock fuming, however, after Stiliyan Petrov headed the late goal which gave Villa the equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park.

Warnock, whose side were docked 10 Championship points after going into administration a fortnight ago, claimed that the corner from which the equaliser came should not have been awarded by assistant referee Trevor Massey as the ball came off a Villa player, which was supported by TV replays.

Warnock said: "It's disappointing. Mr Massey says if he's got it wrong he will be suspended for a couple of games. I said to him: 'When you're sat on your settee, when you're suspended, will you think about us?'

"The referee had a great game. He was let down by somebody who had a very poor game and I don't feel any sympathy if he is suspended. Personally I hope it is a long time.

"Does he realise how hard it is at a club who can't even afford this, that and the other? We came up against a top side and we're giving absolutely everything for the cause, and we are not let down by a football matter. We are let down by incompetence."

Johnny Ertl put Palace ahead, but James Collins hit back for Villa before Darren Ambrose hit a 30-yard free-kick, which looked to have given Palace the win, but Petrov denied them.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill, however, has the dilemma of whether to play a full-strength side in the replay for the right to face West Brom or Reading in the quarter final or save some of his big guns for the Carling Cup final at Wembley.

He said: "We have to negotiate Burnley first of all next week. We'll see how we come out of that game. But Petrov did not risk life and limb to head the ball into the net for us to give it up easily.

"It would have been great to have a spare week to prepare for the Carling Cup final. It's not going to happen. It's not ideal.

"I'm delighted to be in the cup but Crystal Palace will still have a big say in it," added the ex-Celtic boss.