O'Neill to keep building Villa

08:34, March 02, 2010      

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Martin O'Neill has insisted that a blunder by referee Phil Dowd cost Aston Villa the chance of a Wembley win over Manchester United and the club's first trophy in 14 years.

But the Villa boss is determined that bitterness over Dowd's failure to send off Nemanja Vidic will not tarnish his side's achievement in getting to the League Cup final or dilute its drive to repeat the experience.

Wayne Rooney's late winner earned United a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon but the game would have had a very different complexion if Dowd had dismissed Vidic - as most pundits felt he should have - for pulling down Gabriel Agbonlahor when the Villa forward was clean through on goal.

The foul resulted in a penalty from which James Milner gave Villa a fifth-minute lead but O'Neill's men were not able to defend their advantage.

Dowd's failure to brandish so much as a yellow card at Vidic after the Serbian defender had tugged Agbonlahor's shirt and then swept his legs from under him was discribed by O'Neill as "inexplicable".

"I really don't understand it at all. It was a clear goal-scoring opportunity and a player has been felled in the penalty area. Anyone who has seen it will be wondering how he could have come to such a decision.

"It does not matter if it is in the first second or the 89th minute of the game decision is straightforward. It is so straightforward it is incredible."

Source: Agencies
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