CHERRIES have written to Football League referees’ chief David Allison to request an explanation for Mark Heywood’s disputed decision during their 1-0 defeat at Derby.

The Cheshire-based official infuriated manager Eddie Howe and his players after awarding the Rams a debatable free kick from which Chris Martin scored the only goal.

Heywood erroneously deemed Tommy Elphick to have fouled Will Hughes on the edge of the box when the Cherries defender clearly won the ball with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle.

Cherries this week penned a letter and sent a DVD of the incident to Allison, who is national group referees’ manager of the Professional Game Match Officials’ body.

Boss Howe told the Daily Echo: “We have written to the referees’ organisation and I have included details of the incident in my match report. We have asked for an explanation and for some type of feedback from the referee.

“I have watched it again and spoken with Tommy and I think everyone was in agreement that it should not have been given as a free kick. Usually, your first reaction is fairly close to the mark and I thought that at the time. I thought it was a good tackle.

“I know the incident has gone now but, from our perspective, you just hope people can analyse and reflect and become better for incidences like that. We ask all the players to reflect and analyse their performances and you would hope referees do the same.

“I believe every referee in this country does a really honest job and to the best of their ability. But the stakes are so high for us as a football club and it can really burn with you when you feel you have been on the end of a wrong decision. All we hope from this is that things can improve.”