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Gareth Barry Scores Late Winner: Was Manchester City's Goal a Foul or Not?

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Manchester City needed a winning goal in injury time from defensive midfielder Gareth Barry to give them a late 1-0 win at home to relegation-threatened Reading, and the goal caused some controversy as the away side strongly felt a foul should have been awarded.

David Silva's cross from the left fell invitingly to the far post as Barry ran onto it, and though he thumped his header home, Nicky Shorey was seen by some to have been fouled as the England midfielder went over the back of him.

Reading boss Brian McDermott was of course one of the most vocal of those, telling the BBC website:

It's a massive error from the referee. It's an absolute joke. The decision killed us. It is just plain wrong. I simply cannot get my head around why that is not given as a foul, it's ridiculous.

His opposite number Roberto Mancini was equally iron-clad in his beliefs—though at the complete opposite end of the scale, of course.

No foul, absolutely not. When you have one chance, you have to score. In the end, I am happy with the victory but we had a big problem.

Barry himself would not be drawn on whether he thought the incident merited a foul, though admitted he was relieved to have scored the winner when it looked as though Reading would keep his team out.

I haven't seen it again. Shorey was just standing there and I got over the top of him. The lads in the dressing room were saying it was possibly a foul but I'm delighted the referee did not see it as a foul.

The result very much hinged on the referee's decision in that moment as the goal was scored in the third minute of injury time, and with City ending the game with three points instead of one they ensure they keep the pressure up on Manchester United, who they now trail by just three points.

Whether the two points gained late on will prove decisive come the end of the season remains to be seen—or, at the other end of the league table, the one which was ultimately dropped by Reading.

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