BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Luton Town manager Mick Harford described the decision to award Charlton’s penalty an “absolute disgrace”.
The Addicks won 3-1 at The Valley to end the visitors’ 28-match unbeaten run.
Lyle Taylor levelled from the spot after referee Gavin Ward felt the frontman was pulled over.
The former Dons striker went on to add his 21st of the campaign, with Igor Vetokele’s assured finish sandwiched in between.
Harford said: “The penalty is an absolute disgrace, in terms of what he has given – in terms of contact in the box.
“It has changed the face of the game.
“We didn’t want it [the run] to come to an end.
“We started the game very passive after 10 or 15 minutes. Then we got ahead and should have gone further ahead. The game could have been over.
“You have to give credit to Charlton. Their keeper made an unbelievable save.”
James Shea was only booked for wiping out Vetokele in the first half. Addicks boss Lee Bowyer claimed that Ward’s punishment was less severe because the striker had already connected with the ball – lofting his chance wide.
“It was touch and go whether he got a red card or not,” said Harford.
“I’ve got to give them [Charlton] credit – they were excellent and grew into the game.
“The first and second half were chalk and cheese from us – the best and worse I’ve seen us play this season.
“Overall it is very, very disappointing. But my players have been magnificent on this run. I can’t criticise them. They’ll bounce back – 100 per cent.
“The penalty was never a penalty – he [Ward] made a mistake. The two goals were just errors by us in possession. You can’t give the ball away that cheaply.
“Charlton are strong and well-drilled. Lee has got them playing a certain way. In the second half I thought they were a big test for us, they put us under pressure. But the game could’ve been out of sight.
“They managed the game very well and saw the game out comfortably, in all fairness.”