FORMER Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has explained why the call was made to overturn the award of a late penalty to Cherries on Saturday, insisting: “It is a factual decision.”

With the score against Manchester United locked at 2-2 at Vitality Stadium, Ryan Christie went over under the challenge of Willy Kambwala in stoppage time.

Contact initially started outside the box, before appearing to continue into the area, where both players tumbled to the floor.

Referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot, only for the decision to be reversed following a review by video assistant referee Jarred Gillett. Instead, a free-kick was awarded outside the box and the game ended level.

Bournemouth Echo: Cherries were left frustrated by this late decision

Speaking on Sky Sports, former Premier League and international referee Gallagher explained: “The ref gave a trip, so it is very difficult to say a trip continues into the penalty area.

“There’s a coming together, no doubt about that. Does Kambwala impede him? Well he can’t go anywhere.

“So because he’s given a trip, he’s fed back to the VAR, the VAR looks and after much scrutiny, can see the trip is just outside the penalty area.

“So the two things happen of giving the penalty and not having to go to the screen, because it is a factual decision rather than a subjective one.”

Cherries boss Andoni Iraola was incensed by the call, but United boss Erik ten Hag told the BBC: “It was not a penalty, definitely not. It was not a foul. The player was running into our defender.

“We have conceded three penalties in the last four games and all of the penalties were debatable, as also the penalty we won (on Saturday), that was also debatable. We have to be honest.”

The penalty United were awarded came when a shot from Kobbie Mainoo deflected off Christie and onto the arm of Adam Smith in the box.

“As his arm is out, the referee feels he moves towards the ball with his arm there,” explained Gallagher.

“It is high up, but we have this question of how high up is high up?

“The referee has got a great view.

“The referee gave it, the VAR looks at it and confirms the referee was right.”

In their roles as pundits on Sky alongside Gallagher, former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock and ex-Lioness Sue Smith both felt the two penalty decisions were incorrect.

On BBC’s Match of the Day, Arsenal legend Martin Keown said: “The penalty against Adam Smith was really unfortunate.

“But I do see that the arm moves. He sticks his arm out. To be fair to referee Tony Harrington, he’s right on it and he sees it really quickly, as unfortunate as it is, his arm moves towards the ball, so no complaints.”

On the overturned Cherries penalty call, Keown added: “I suppose we have to trust VAR.

“The initial contact is clearly outside the box. Is it in the spirit of things? Maybe Kambwala has got away with one there.

“I like to see defenders get away with things, to be honest with you!”

Former England striker Gary Lineker added: “It’s a tight one. It’s probably not clear and obvious.”