Barnet head coach Edgar Davids admitted the incident which left Luton Town’s Jonathan Smith with a suspected broken leg was “horrific” but stressed there was no malice in the challenge from Jon Nurse.

The Hatters were leading 2-0 thanks to goals from Paul Benson and Alex Lawless when Nurse’s late tackle on Smith forced the game to be halted for several minutes.

Nurse was originally shown a yellow card before the referee changed his decision and dismissed the winger.

Davids had no complaints with the decision but added Nurse “didn’t do it on purpose”.

“It was a very bad moment,” the Dutchman said.

“It was horrific. We are on the bench and if you are exposed to something like that, I couldn’t even look at it and my stomach turned.

“I have to give a big compliment to John Still and his men for staying disciplined and not letting the game go out of control. Even though it wasn’t deliberate, that can happen.”

Davids added: “I know he didn’t do it on purpose but he has caught him because the other guy was quicker. You are not going to argue with that. The only thing you will argue is that the referee has given a yellow card and then a red. That is confusing for everyone.”

Barnet worked hard in the second period and pulled a goal back through Jake Hyde. But they were unable to complete the turnaround and Luton held out to secure a 2-1 victory.

“In the first half they wanted it more than we did but in the second half we played much better with ten men,” Davids said.

“If you have certain chances and don’t bury them then it is the same story. We created a lot in the second half and scored one.

“We could have scored another one and we didn’t give them many opportunities in the second half to be dangerous.”