03 October 2023

Stevenage boss Steve Evans unhappy with officiating after defeat to Bolton

03 October 2023

Stevenage boss Steve Evans was angry after seeing his side suffer a 3-2 defeat in an eventful Sky Bet League One loss at play-off rivals Bolton.

The visitors equalised twice but Wanderers snatched a second victory in four days with Josh Sheehan’s first league goal of the campaign, 20 minutes from time.

But Scot Evans believed Bolton should already have been down to 10 men.

Instead, referee Josh Smith deemed substitute Cameron Jerome’s challenge on Carl Piergianni – which left the Stevenage skipper with a bloody nose – was only worthy of a penalty and yellow card.

Two-goal Jamie Reid levelled from the spot for his ninth goal of the campaign before Wales international Sheehan hit the winner.

“(Referees chief) Howard Webb thinks he has problems in the Premier League but they have huge problems in the Football League,” said Evans.

“I have got to be careful what I say about the referee but there were some horrendous decisions.

“They (Bolton) should be down to nine men, eight men maybe. The challenge on Piergianni is a penalty but it is a straight red every day of the week.”

Evans also felt Jack Iredale should have received a second yellow card for a foul before half-time.

But the Australian escaped further punishment and went on to net Bolton’s second goal and provide the assist for Sheehan’s winner.

Evans added: “We made a very good team look average but we got nothing for it. We were far the better team for long periods.

“But there is no point me talking anymore I will put myself in trouble but the standard of officials is getting absolutely dreadful.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt defended veteran striker Jerome whose challenge eventually resulted in Piergianni’s substitution.

“Cam isn’t that type of player,” said his manager. “He isn’t just going to elbow someone off the ball. It is just not us.

“He jumped for the ball and just didn’t see him behind him.

“They contacted our players enough and there was an incident first half that I haven’t really talked about where Dion Charles clearly gets elbowed – but it is part of the game.

“They got the penalty and, for me, a yellow card and a penalty is fair.”

On a victory that lifted the Trotters up to third, Evatt added: “People shouldn’t underestimate any team managed by Steve Evans.

“They ask you questions. It is tough to play against and takes serious energy and serious concentration with a depleted squad and the energy we put into winning last Saturday.

“So, I am happy for the players to find a way to win. The togetherness in the group is amazing.”

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