Okuonghae was playing to the whistle during Cambridge ‘goal’ controversy

Magnus Okuonghae clears the danger against Cambridge
Magnus Okuonghae clears the danger against Cambridge

Hatters defender Magnus Okuonghae confirmed he had clearly heard the whistle during the controversial incident that saw Cambridge’s goal ruled out in yesterday’s Kenilworth Road stalemate.

With 15 minutes to go, U’s full back Lewis Page swung over a cross, before being fouled by Paul Benson, which Ben Williamson clinically converted.

However, referee Andrew Madley had blown for the challenge by Benson, yellow carding the striker, so was forced to bring play back and award the visitors a free kick, ensuring the goal never stood.

Centre half Magnus Okuonghae said: “I’d heard the whistle, the full back said he had heard the whistle as well.

“It was loud, it was clear, so I’d turned around in amazement, thinking what’s going on? I’d heard the whistle, surely this goal is not going to be given, so luckily that wasn’t the case.

“He (referee) actually said to me that he messed up, and I said, ‘I hesitated because I heard the whistle’ and he said, ‘all right, that makes me feel a bit better.’

“So hopefully he’s not too down about it, as I thought he refereed the game quite well.”

The reaction of the official after realising his mistake was to throw his hands to his head in the acknowledgement of the error, and midfielder Alex Lawless thought that was to his credit.

He said: “It was probably a better reaction because then on a human level people can associate with it, rather than just pretended that he hadn’t made a mistake it infuriates people even more.

“So I’m sure Cambridge are going to be absolutely raging about it, but they can actually see it’s a human error.

“I think that was probably better to see than him just ignoring it, just a shame for him”

Cambridge boss Shaun Derry refused to blame Madley despite robbing his side of a potential victory, as he said: “Obviously an element of disappointment, but I’m not going to make a big deal of it as I’ve made so many mistakes in the past and I’m sure will continue to make mistakes in the future.

“I’m not one for saying they should be getting everything right, the game’s played at such a high intensity now that any split moment decision can be in the back of the net.

“This is a game of football, this is live, this is happening, I was pleased with how we responded after the goal wasn’t given.”

Meanwhile, Luton boss Nathan Jones understood Cambridge’s disappointment, but felt his players had switched off for the free kick, adding: “Our players would have heard the whistle, he blew up early, they’ll be certainly aggrieved, but you can’t do anything.

“He blew immediately, if he let it go and then they scored, then he brought it back and that kind of error then fine, but I heard the whistle, our players would have and you can’t do anything about that.”