ITV were left with very red faces tonight after scoring a huge own goal during their live football coverage.
Armchair fans had waited almost two hours for a goal in the FA Cup fourth round replay between Everton and Liverpool.
And when it came…ITV viewers in several parts of the country missed it.
What are being described as “technical problems” began 27 minutes into extra time.
Just before Everton teenager Dan Gosling scored the dramatic winning goal two minutes from time.
It appears ITV Granada viewers were luckier than most and saw the goal live.
But millions elsewhere did not.
Their live football suddenly switched without warning to a commercial break, right in the middle of the action.
After about three adverts, the live feed from Goodison Park returned.
To show Everton manager David Moyes and the Everton players celebrating a goal.
Presenter Steve Rider apologised several times after the final whistle.
“If you missed the goal, our apologies for the technical problems we had at the time,” he said.
Then: “Apologies if you missed seeing that decisive goal live.”
There were further problems at the end of the programme with many viewers stuck watching a static ITV1 ident.
Interspersed with a countdown clock.
Before News At Ten arrived on screen in the middle of the headlines.
Furious viewers are already deluging internet message boards to complain.
With most ruling ITV’s football coverage offside.
One theory is that an automatically timed commercial break kicked in.
When it should have been cancelled due to the extra time.
Not the best of timing.
Especially on the day ITV announced their intention to cut yet more jobs – with full details due on March 4.
12:10am update: Matt Smith made no mention of the problem when presenting subsequent late night highlights of the game.
He described it as “a difficult and bad night for Liverpool”.
Sadly, something that could equally apply to ITV.
7am Thursday update: ITV issued the following statement overnight:
“We experienced some technical problems towards the end of the game which meant that we cut away at the time of the goal. We immediately replayed the goal and Steve Rider apologised.
“This would appear to be a network transmission problem and was nothing to do with the production team on the ground. We apologise to viewers for the interruption to the game.”