23 January 2024

Darrell Clarke ‘bewildered’ by decision to rule out Cheltenham equaliser

23 January 2024

Cheltenham boss Darrell Clarke was left “bewildered” after Victor Adeboyejo earned Bolton a controversial 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory.

Adeboyejo netted his eighth goal of the campaign after 24 minutes but Clarke and his players were convinced George Lloyd had equalised nine minutes into the second half.

Instead, referee Ben Speedie signalled offside against Town skipper Sean Long, even though his assistant Joe Simpson did not initially raise his flag. The two consulted before Lloyd’s effort was finally chalked off.

“The performance was good with chances and opportunities created,” said Clarke. “But I need to ask the referee why he disallowed a goal and the linesman didn’t give offside.

“I’m still bewildered by it to be honest. I’m going to ask for answers.

“It looked to me the referee has given offside. How does that work? I’m angry and frustrated.

“When you are coming to a top team like Bolton you need the rub of the green. I think they are going to finish in the top two at the end of the season.

“For me, my boys deserved a bit of that but it wasn’t to be.”

Cheltenham’s defeat leaves them 22nd and seven points from safety. But Clarke issued a defiant message.

“We are going to go toe-to-toe with everyone and have a right go until the end of the season. We’re not going to make things comfortable for any opposition.”

Bolton’s return to winning ways after last Saturday’s defeat at Leyton Orient sees them just one point off an automatic promotion place.

On the game’s potential turning point, Evatt said: “It was a brilliant decision by the ref.

“Darrell was furious at the time because the player was actually onside. But it was impacting players who started offside and blocked our defenders from recovering.

“They have impacted the action, so it was a fantastic decision.”

On his team’s below-par display, Evatt added: “Come the end of the season no one will remember the performance.

“The most important thing was the three points. Believe it or not that’s five wins out of six

“This league is hard, no one is going to make it easy for you. It’s amazing how one defeat can effect your psyche and mindset.

“It is finding a way to win because you can’t play well every week.

“We looked a bit jittery and nervous which I don’t really understand.

“The way to deal with that is to go for it even more and not try and go safe and do what we did tonight.

“We are not used to losing games, so we have to deal better with the losses.

“That win will do them a world of good.”

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