CHERRIES star Marc Pugh insisted he had been denied a “blatant penalty” as he defended himself amid claims he took a dive at DW Stadium.

Pugh and his team-mates reacted furiously after he had been booked for simulation during the first half of Cherries’ 1-1 draw at Wigan on Saturday.

The teams will meet in an FA Cup replay at Dean Court on January 15, subject to possible TV coverage, after Eunan O’Kane’s opener was cancelled out by Jordi Gomez on 70 minutes.

But Cherries were left to rue a controversial call by referee Bobby Madley prior to O’Kane’s fine strike in the third round showdown.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez praised Madley’s performance and suggested the Pugh incident was “a clear dive”. But Pugh felt the West Yorkshire official should have pointed to the spot after he had hit the deck when trying to slice between Latics defenders Maynor Figueroa and Roman Golobart.

Pugh told the Daily Echo: “I cut inside two of them and the first lad clipped me and then the second lad sort of barged me over, but I wasn’t happy at the time because I thought it was a blatant penalty. I have got a cut on my knee to prove that.

“I am usually quite a calm person but it really frustrates you because they can be big decisions that turn games. I said to the referee that if I had gone through I would have been clean through on goal. Why would I go down? I am not even on penalties so I would have wanted to score a goal.

“It is just really frustrating but you have got to put it to the back of your mind and, hopefully, we can beat them at Goldsands Stadium.”

Referee Madley later penalised Simon Francis for a shirt pull on Figueroa in the 18-yard box, with Gomez levelling after Shwan Jalal had saved his spot kick.

When asked by the Daily Echo about the two talking points, Martinez said: “I saw them on the replay. The first one was a clear dive and the referee saw it very well.

“The penalty, Maynor was on his own in the six-yard box and the moment that he was going to make contact with the ball, he got pulled from the back on the shirt.”

Cherries boss Eddie Howe said: “He (Pugh) is not the type of player that goes to ground easily so my first impression was it was a penalty. Without seeing it again, I wouldn’t be able to confirm that.

“On their one, again I haven’t seen it again, but I am told that there was, potentially, a little tug in there, so I can see why the referee gave it. I think it was probably a 50-50 call.”