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AFC Bournemouth: Ref made honest mistake over penalty says Howe
Hooper infuriated the Amex Stadium faithful when he awarded Cherries a penalty following Inigo Calderon’s challenge on Marc Pugh just 13 minutes in.
Lewis Grabban made no mistake from the spot to fire Cherries ahead before Stephen Ward salvaged a share of the spoils for the hosts with a late leveller.
Giving his opinion on the decision, Howe said: “I thought it was a difficult one for the referee. He had the same angle as me and, initially, I thought it was a foul. But the boy took the ball as well.
“I would have felt hard done by if it had been given against us. In fairness to the referee, he has refereed us a number of times and he is a very good referee. He made an honest mistake.
“I thought he refereed the rest of the game very well because it was a difficult one for him from that point onwards. He responded and showed real character.”
Brighton head coach Oscar Garcia, who saw Ward’s deflected header cancel out Grabban’s penalty a minute from time, said: “Everyone saw what happened except the most important person.”
And Cherries winger Pugh said: “He came across me, clipped my leg and then won the ball so I don’t know the rule for that one. Maybe if you get the man first then it is a penalty but I didn’t claim it.
“We could have had an argument for a penalty when Andrew Surman went down in the box later on and we didn’t get one. These things even themselves out and referees have to make split-second decisions.”
Although Ward’s late goal denied Cherries a club record third consecutive away win in the second flight, Howe was delighted with their showing.
He said: “From my perspective, you have to look at the bigger picture. As disappointed as we were not to win, a point and a good display pleased me no end. I think it is a marker of how far we have come that we competed and performed really well, probably bar the last 15 minutes when we were under big pressure.
“We were indebted to the woodwork and Lee Camp at the end but, for the rest of the game, bar a couple of moments in the first half, I thought we were really good.
“We just couldn’t clear the ball for their goal. I was desperate for someone to get a good contact on it and get it away from danger. The more questions they asked and the more balls they put into the box, you did fear that something would happen.
“It was a real shame because Lee didn’t look like he was going to get beaten. I thought his display was very good alongside our back four who had repelled a good Brighton side.
“Although my initial reaction was one of disappointment, they had a couple of chances at the end and we could have got beaten under late pressure.
“It is another game unbeaten, another point on the board and another away point which, earlier in the season, we probably wouldn’t have got. I feel we are developing and improving all the time and thought this was another demonstration of that.”
Howe confirmed there was no update on Camp’s situation with the goalkeeper’s loan having expired following the clash. Talks regarding a permanent contract with the 29-year-old, whose deal at West Brom also came to an end today, are understood to be continuing.
Meanwhile, Nico Yennaris has returned to Arsenal following the end of his loan spell with Cherries.
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