CHERRIES defender Lloyd Kelly held his hands up for a reckless challenge on Ismaila Sarr and said: “It wasn’t my finest tackle.”

Two minutes into making his return after a month out with a hamstring problem, Kelly lunged in to tackle the Watford winger – catching him on the knee with his studs.

He was shown a yellow card by referee Tim Robinson at Vicarage Road on Saturday and went on to play 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw.

With the game being shown live on Sky Sports, EFL expert Don Goodman described as “awful” the challenge from the former Bristol City man and said he should have seen red.

Former Cherries skipper Simon Francis said the tackle was “really out of character” for the 22-year-old.

Cherries boss Jason Tindall also admitted the incident "could've been a red card" for his defender.

Giving his thoughts on the challenge which set tongues wagging in the early stages, Kelly told the Daily Echo: “Obviously the ball was there to win and I can definitely say it wasn’t my finest tackle.

“I was lunging a little bit. I thought the ball was there to win – caught him a little bit.

“Some may say it was a red card, some may say it was a yellow card but we got on with the game.

“We had a good battle throughout the game – it was just a good battle for 90 minutes.”

Asked whether rustiness on his return may have played a part, the England under-21 international replied: “Yeah it may be that.

“Obviously it was so early into the game, you get yourself into a game situation and you can’t really beat match fitness.

“You can do everything you can on the training pitch and in the gym to make sure you get fit but it’s a different playing field when you are playing games week in, week out.

“You could put it down for that but at the same time, I know it wasn’t my finest tackle, so I can take responsibility for that.”

Having only seen yellow against the Hornets, Kelly was on hand to turn the ball goalwards for Chris Mepham to slot home a late leveller for the visitors in stoppage time.

“We knew we were going to get one more chance and luckily enough the ball spilled to me,” said Kelly.

“I had a clean contact on it and Meps was there to tap it in. It was a good feeling.

“He’s done well to get into the area and be a little bit of a poacher.

“When we can’t get the win you always don’t want to lose. It’s always good that we are picking up points where we can.”