COLCHESTER boss Joe Dunne slammed referee Brendan Malone after insisting his team should have been awarded a penalty in a late flashpoint at Dean Court.

Dunne was adamant that the U’s had been denied a certain spot-kick after Malone waved away the visitors’ protests in the closing stages of Cherries’ 1-0 victory yesterday.

And Dunne’s counterpart Eddie Howe admitted he had been worried as he watched Cherries midfielder Wes Fogden slide in on Colchester substitute Drey Wright with just minutes of the League One clash remaining.

But instead of giving a penalty as Wright hit the deck, Wiltshire-based official Malone allowed play to continue before dismissing appeals once Cherries keeper David James had saved the resulting shot.

Dunne told the media: “He was fouled in the box and it should have been a penalty.

“I have seen the replay, we questioned it at the time and our players questioned the referee. I was very disappointed with the response from the referee.

“He played advantage throughout the game and it was like rugby at times. You don’t get those decisions when you are near the bottom of the table.”

Cherries manager Howe said: “I have to be honest, I was worried when I saw Wes going in for the tackle.

“I couldn’t see whether he was in the box or not but it looked like he was near enough or on the line. My initial reaction was ‘oh dear, we could be in trouble’. But it wasn’t given so we will certainly take it.”

Howe was pleased with his team after watching Cherries register a first home victory over Colchester since 1999, with Lewis Grabban’s 41st-minute strike the only goal of the game.

“In the first half, I thought we were excellent and, in the second half, we dipped below that level,” said Howe.

“But all in all, protecting a 1-0 lead against a team we had not done very well against in recent years, it was certainly a very good result.”

Discussing the second half, Howe added: “There were two free headers in the box which concerned me. We dropped a little bit too deep and didn’t keep the ball as well.

“But I am really picking holes – we won the game 1-0 at home against a team which had been our bogey team in recent years.

“We always knew it was going to be difficult. They are fighting for their lives on a bad run.

“If we had got the second goal, I think it would have been a different story and we still had enough chances to have won it by more.”