Bolton boss Ian Evatt saw his team edge out Forest Green (Richard Sellers/PA)
24 January 2023

Bolton’s battlers please Ian Evatt but case of mistaken identity frustrates him

24 January 2023

Boss Ian Evatt described matchwinner Dion Charles’ sending-off as “baffling” after his striker was wrongly sent off in Bolton’s 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory over Forest Green.

Charles struck his 13th goal of the campaign after six minutes but was then dismissed by referee Tom Nield following a bizarre 28th minute incident.

Team mate Elias Kachunga clearly raised his arms to Rovers defender Brandon Cooper, with Charles yards away from the incident.

Despite home protests the decision stood, although Kachunga and not Charles will likely receive a three-game ban once disciplinary bosses review the flashpoint.

“We cannot deny Elias has let everyone down,” said Evatt after Bolton’s return to winning ways.

“What he did showing that lack of discipline is not acceptable. He has apologised to the group and we will deal with things internally.

“There was a lot going on in the box and for the linesman to spot it is a good spot.

“But to get a player involved and sent off 15 yards away from the incident is baffling. I tried to tell him but the linesman was positive it was Dion. But mistakes happen and we move on.”

Evatt, however, was delighted by his play-off chasers’ resilience. “If ever that was a performance to be proud of that was it,” he said.

“And I am proud of the crowd in the second half. That was the best atmosphere from a home perspective this season. They gave the players so much life and energy.”

Rovers remain at the foot of the table with manager Ian Burchnall frustrated by his team’s failure to get back in the contest.

“I was disappointed because we had to throw everything at that situation. Sometimes I don’t feel we did. We held back and that’s disappointing.

“They defended the box magnificently, but I don’t think we challenged them enough. We  have got to commit into the box far more than we did.

“When they go down to 10 men early we must try and get something out of the game. It is hugely frustrating we didn’t do that.

“I need more commitment from some in terms of application, energy and commitment in both boxes. The goal was soft but it is too common a problem.

“We have got to play every game like it is our last. I need to see more from the players.”

On the sending-off, Burchnall added: “I didn’t see it but I spoke to Dion Charles as he came off and a couple of their staff at half-time. They said it was a sending off, but they got the wrong person.

“Kachunga was the one who raised his arm. It is a red card but it is very unfortunate for Dion Charles because he didn’t deserve it.”

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