MARC Pugh rejected claims he had taken a dive to win Cherries a second penalty during their incident-packed 1-1 draw with Watford on Saturday.

Winger Pugh went to ground following a clash involving Hornets pair Manuel Almunia and Fitz Hall just 10 minutes after Cherries had been awarded their first spot-kick.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Almunia, who subsequently saved Lewis Grabban’s second penalty, said neither he nor defender Hall had made any contact with Pugh.

Pugh, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, said: “I felt somebody clip me from behind. I was clean through on goal so there was no need to go down because I would have had a tap in.

“I certainly thought it was a penalty but everyone else can make their own judgement after they have seen it again. I don’t agree with their goalkeeper’s view of the incident. I would never dive.

“Either the defender or the goalkeeper caught me and I felt the contact. I would have scored if I hadn’t been brought down.”

Almunia kept out Grabban’s second spot-kick and pulled off stunning saves from follow-up efforts from Cherries duo Matt Ritchie and Eunan O’Kane.

The Spaniard was beaten by Grabban’s first penalty which was awarded for a shirt tug on the Cherries striker.

And although Gabriele Angella received a straight red card for the infringement, television replays clearly showed he was the victim of a case of mistaken identity.

Almunia said: “For the first penalty, sometimes they are given and sometimes they aren’t. For the second one, I didn’t touch the player and neither did my team-mate. He fell down a couple of metres after the actions.

“I was so surprised when the referee pointed to the spot. I couldn’t believe it and thought he had given a goal-kick. I didn’t realise there was a striker around me and I only touched my team-mate.”

Pugh received the backing of his captain Tommy Elphick who said: “If you dive in, you are going to give away penalties. I am a big believer in staying on your feet and defending properly.

“All the time you are tugging at people’s shirts and diving in, you are vulnerable so I thought they were both definite penalties.

“I thought the second one was even more so than the first one and the referee ended up booking the centre-half so I don’t quite know how that works out. If the second player had been sent off, I think we would have gone on to win comfortably.”