17 March 2023

It has to be a penalty – Ian Evatt frustrated as Bolton denied chance for winner

17 March 2023

Bolton boss Ian Evatt felt his team were back to their best during a 1-1 draw at League One leaders Sheffield Wednesday – but insisted the visitors were denied a blatant penalty that could have given them an even greater reward.

Veteran striker Lee Gregory’s early strike was cancelled out by Victor Adeboyejo’s first-half equaliser for the visitors and, after the break, Dion Charles appeared to be tripped by home defender Aden Flint as he bore down on the home goal.

Evatt claimed that even Flint had admitted a spot-kick should have been awarded and, delivering his post-match verdict, the Trotters chief said: “I thought we were excellent and looked like my team again – the team we have developed who are brave on the ball, positive, expansive and, out of possession, show energy and intensity. We had all of that in abundance.

“We also managed their crowd well because it would have been easy for the players to duck out after conceding early from a set-play, which I was disappointed with. After that, though, we settled into the game well and deserved the equaliser.

“In the second half, we kept them at arm’s length and then the big moment was the penalty that wasn’t given. It has to be a penalty.

“Even Flinty, who I know and respect as an honest professional, said it was 100 per cent a penalty. Our aim was to get behind and down the sides of their centre-halves and Dion had done that and was just about to pull the trigger when he was brought down, so I was really disappointed not to get it.”

Wednesday boss Darren Moore saw his team extend their club record-breaking unbeaten run to a 23rd league game, but admitted scoring just once in each of the last four fixtures is his only “small critique” of recent displays.

“I’m a little bit frustrated, because we could have gone in at half-time a couple of goals to the good,” Moore argued. “It was not for the want of trying because we had good chances but did not make good contacts on the ball.

“We couldn’t kill the game off and I think, if we had scored a second goal, it would have been very hard for them to get back into it. I thought we could have settled down and got on the ball a bit more, then the channels would have opened up, but the game became like two boxers trading blows in the middle of the pitch without looking for the knockout.

“The one small critique I have got of the team at the moment is that we’re not making the most of the chances we are creating, but I have great belief in these players and I know they will do if we keep giving them those opportunities.”

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