IRATE Bashley officials could lodge a protest after being dumped out of the FA Cup by what they claim was ‘the goal that never was’.

Bash were convinced striker James Stokoe had given them the lead late on in their first qualifying round replay at Gosport Borough on Tuesday.

However, although Stokoe’s close-range effort appeared to nestle in the back of the net, referee Will Bull instead awarded them a corner.

Despite their protestations, Bash went on to lose the tie 3-2 after extra-time as Southern League rivals Gosport pocketed the £3,000 prize money.

Furious Bashley officials were due to discuss the incident at an emergency committee meeting and may consider taking the matter further with the FA.

Bash boss Frank Gray told the Daily Echo: “I have spoken to our chairman and asked if there is a case for going to the FA to appeal negligence on the part of the officials. Goal nets should be checked before every game to make sure there are no holes.

“Everybody knew it was a goal but the referee said he didn’t see it. The ball went in and their goalkeeper, probably in a rage, kicked it through the net. It hit the back-boards and finished up outside of the goal.

“The referee made what he deemed to be an honest decision but he was conned by a couple of their players who appealed for a corner. The reaction of the rest of their players, who started walking back to halfway line with their hands on their heads, told you everything.

“It was probably the most frustrated I had ever been as a football manager. There was a lot of money at stake and our lads did well not to lose their heads.”

Gray, who had seen Gosport force a replay thanks to a last- minute own goal at Bashley on Saturday, also claimed the Privett Park public address had announced Stokoe as the goalscorer.

Gosport manager Alex Pike told the Daily Echo: “From where we were in the dugouts, neither myself nor Frank could see whether or not it was a goal. But, when I spoke to my players afterwards, of the 11 on the pitch, two thought it wasn’t a goal, two didn’t see anything and seven said it was a goal.

“The biggest clue for the referee was that all 11 Bashley players were celebrating a winning goal and only two of mine said the ball hadn’t gone in. I have got a lot of sympathy for Bashley and thought they took it exceedingly well. I wouldn’t have taken it as well as they did.

"If the boot had been on the other foot, I would have seriously considered whether I wanted to stay in football. It was a good reason to give up."

And with tongue firmly in cheek, Pike added: “I always knew the losers of this tie would play the winners of Bideford and Bodmin!”

The Daily Echo has been unable to contact referee Bull.

Bash: Prodomo, Smith, Finlay, Strickland, Middleton, Richardson, Casey, Hill, Stokoe, Gradwell, Knight (Gamble, 111). Unused subs: Paul Gazzard, Lompato- Pires, Farren, Oliver, Kearn (g/k).