IAN Evatt was proud of Wanderers‘ resolve to hold on to victory against Forest Green with 10 men after a “baffling” red card issued to Dion Charles.
After Bolton’s Northern Ireland international had opened the scoring with his 13th goal of the season – he was the unlucky man sent off by referee Tom Nield for what was a clear case of mistaken identity.
Elias Kachunga was, in fact, guilty of punching out at Forest Green defender Brandon Cooper – and Evatt was unimpressed that the experienced striker had put his side’s points in jeopardy.
“There are two parts to this, we cannot deny that Elias has let everybody down,” he said after the game. “What he has done, showing that lack of discipline, is not acceptable. He has apologized to the group and we will deal with this internally. That’s the first thing.
“But what I will say is that quite a lot of that sort of stuff goes on in the box, so for the linesman to spot it, is a good spot. And you need to be sharp-eyed for that. Obviously then to get a player involved who was probably 15 yards away from the incident is baffling.
“Mistakes happen, we’ll move on.”
Evatt said Kachunga tried to tell the officials what had happened – and referee Nield also rushed over to the touchline to stop Evatt entering the field of play at one stage as he too tried to explain.
“Kacha tried to tell him, we all tried to tell him – I even walked on the pitch to try. But at that stage the linesman was positive it was Dion,” said Evatt.
“But as I said, mistakes happen, hopefully it will be rectified, it obviously leaves us another striker light because the likelihood is that Kacha will get the three-game ban and Dion’s will be rescinded.
“Me and Mr. Markham are going to be busy in the next few days.”
Wanderers sat deep and held firm in the second half, with James Trafford only occasionally tested by the visitors.
Evatt finished the game with five centre-halves on the pitch and no strikers but he said the encouragement of the crowd was also a key factor in the victory.
“If ever there was a performance to be proud of, it was that one, because that is alien to my players. To sacrifice possession, be sat in a mid-to-low block, waiting for pressing triggers,” he said.
“Normally we are all-out high intensity, regain all over the pitch, and it shows the way the players have bought into the out-of-possession side.
“I am also proud of the crowd because that second half was probably the best atmosphere I have heard all season at home. It had a huge impact on the players and it gave them so much life and energy. I’d like us to replicate that as much as possible.”