Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall admitted his side were lucky not to have Lloyd Kelly sent off in the opening minutes of their 1-1 draw against Watford at Vicarage Road.
The central defender appeared to rake his studs down the leg of Ismaila Sarr in an ugly looking challenge after barely a minute and was relieved when referee Tim Robinson showed him only a yellow card.
That decision proved vital for Tindall's side, who recovered from losing an 11th-minute goal to Stipe Perica to rescue a point in the sixth minute of stoppage time at the end of an intense contest.
Chris Mepham turned home Kelly's shot as it was flying wide to maintain Bournemouth's unbeaten start to the Championship season.
Tindall said: "I've only just seen the challenge and I saw it in slow motion. I've got to be honest and say that on another day it could have been a red card.
"But what I do know is that Lloyd's not that type of character or player where he will purposely do something like that or go in with any type of malice or intent.
"He has been out for a month and I think that showed in the opening half hour of the game. It's difficult when you're out for any length of time, like Lloydy has, to get thrown straight into a game like that.
"I felt we deserved the equaliser. If we hadn't got it, it would have been very harsh, because I felt that we controlled the majority of the game.
"Thankfully for us the goal came and I'm really pleased for Meps. He was really disappointed and down about the goal we conceded against Cardiff in midweek, so to come and deliver a solid performance today and to get the goal right at the end, I'm sure that would have put a smile back on his face."
Tindall believes that both sides will be fighting for automatic promotion come May having been relegated together in the summer.
He added: "It's going to be tough to have that intensity for 90 minutes in every game, but I think that's where your squad becomes important. We spoke about it at half-time.
"We needed to be better, more on the front foot, move the ball quicker and show more intent. If anyone was going to score, I felt it was going to be us.
"Yes I will expect both sides to be involved at the top. They are two good sides. Both teams got relegated last year but they have both got good squads and some very good players. Both have started well this season."
Tindall's relief stood in stark contrast to the frustration of Watford manager Vladimir Ivic, who felt his side had nullified the threat of a team that is better placed to make an immediate return to the Premier League.
Ivic said: "We can be disappointed because we conceded a goal in extra-time. We worked hard during the 95, 96 minutes and we were very good in our defensive movement and a foul could have been given on Ben Foster before their goal.
"When you miss two chances to make it 2-0, you have to go back to protect the 1-0 at the end. But I am pleased with the behaviour of my players because they gave their maximum.
"But we need to be realistic and know that we have played against a very good team who have played together for three or four years.
"They have quality players, especially up front, powerful players who can score goals from every position and they didn't create many chances against us.
"Now it's about how we recover the players as fast as possible and to prepare them for the game on Tuesday.
"We talk a lot with our medical team. We try to do everything we can to prepare the players for the next game.
"We're still waiting for three or four players to come back after a long period of time and today we didn't use some players who played in previous games to protect them from getting injured."