REFEREE Carl Boyeson has strenuously defended his decision to controversially change his mind after awarding Cherries ‘the penalty that never was’ during their 2-2 draw at Bury.

The Hull-based official pointed to the spot after believing Shakers defender Matt Doherty had handled a cross from Simon Francis early in the second half of the Gigg Lane clash.

However, after consulting assistant Ian Dudley, Boyeson, a Football League official for 17 years, stunned spectators when he reversed his decision and instead signalled for a corner.

Although Boyeson was well within his rights to change his decision, Cherries boss Eddie Howe felt the official should have been certain before he pointed to the spot.

Speaking to the Daily Echo last night, Boyeson said: “The ball came across and the Bury player put it out of play. His head was high and there was half an appeal from Miles Addison.

“For a split second, I thought he had handballed it. Yet, as soon as I hit the whistle and pointed to the spot, I know it sounds silly, but I knew I was wrong.

“As I was blowing the whistle, the assistant, speaking on the head-set, told me it should have been a corner and the fourth official said likewise. I know they were a lot farther away than I was, but they both had an angle on it. That is why I went over to the assistant. As I had not restarted play, I could change the decision.

“I believe the decision was correct. I realise it wasn’t the right way to get there but we got there in the end.

“I apologised to Eddie after the game for the way we had got to the decision. I also apologised to Kevin Blackwell for maybe giving him palpitations for 30 seconds while we got to the right decision. To their credit, they both accepted it.”

Boyeson, who said he had never before changed his mind on a decision, added: “It took bottle to overturn it. It would have been quite easy to stick my head in the sand and go with the original decision.

“I suppose that is experience for you. I have been on the Football League for 17 years, six as an assistant and 11 as a referee, and maybe I called on all my years of experience in that one moment to get the decision correct.

“Apart from that one incident, there were only 13 free-kicks in the game. If I had left the ground wearing a tracksuit and trainers, nobody would have known who I was. But the talking point was the penalty that never was.

“On the day, I made a mistake but I quickly corrected it and we came to the right conclusion regarding the decision.”