AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe refused to blame Eunan O’Kane for giving away a bizarre penalty against Walsall on Saturday.
With the game poised at 2-1 to the home side, but with Walsall down to ten men, the Cherries were chasing the game, desperate to save a point and extend the unbeaten League One run of form to sixteen games.
So when Steve Cook blatantly fouled Will Grigg, O’Kane calmly chipped the ball up, caught it and ran over to place the ball for the free kick in a bid to save time.
But O’Kane had unfortunately not played to the whistle and instead of a conceding a free kick, the referee awarded a penalty for hand ball.
The resulting spot kick was calmly dispatched ending any hopes the Cherries had of getting back on level terms.
O’Kane posted on Twitter after the game and said…
“I can only apologise for what happened today! Thought I had heard a whistle so was trying to get the ball back to them to speed the game up!”
He received sympathy from both AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and Walsall assistant Richard O’Kelly after the game.
Howe told the Daily Echo…
“…You can`t really attach any blame to Eunan. He picked up the ball almost in good faith. It is something he will learn from and I don`t think he will ever do it again.”
Whilst O’Kelly added…
“I thought the referee confused people with some of his decisions all through the game and he confused Eunan O`Kane the most. The referee and linesman both had a great position and it should have been a free-kick. Will Grigg was brought down by Cook.
“You could say Eunan should have reacted in a different way but, in my opinion, he could win the fair play award for what he did.
“I thought the referee had a get-out and could have given the free-kick after looking like he had tried to play the advantage. He didn`t, he applied the letter of the law and, unfortunately, he gave us a penalty.”
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