‘Baffling’ – Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt’s verdict on refereeing decisions in Oxford United win



Ian Evatt admitted some of the decisions made by the officials in Bolton Wanderers’ win over Oxford United but repeated his stance that referees have a tough job and that they ought to be full-time professionals throughout the EFL.

Wanderers went behind early on at the Kassam Stadium in the 3-2 victory due to Billy Bodin’s great free-kick, but Declan John equalized immediately afterwards as Bolton drew level.

Bodin struck again for the second time later on in the first, but Marlon Fossey drew Wanderers level again for the second time in the encounter after half-time.

READMORE:‘Not acceptable’ – Karl Robinson’s claim about Bolton Wanderers’ winning goal vs Oxford United

The game looked like it was heading towards the spoils being shared, but Amadou Bakayoko struck before full-time to give Wanderers all three points for a huge win against the U’s as Bolton went seven games unbeaten and are currently eight points from the play-offs .

Speaking after the game, Evatt felt there was little consistency in the decision making made by referee Gavin Ward and that in the first half fouls went unpunished, while after the break any contact was deemed a free-kick.

But Evatt did not overly criticize the officials after admitting they have a ‘really tough job’ and repeated his call for professional referees at every level at the game and believes there is enough money within football to make it happen.

He said: “It’s really baffling, with some of the decisions today. I think in the first half it was like no holds barred and then second half it was like any contact’s a free-kick.

“We have to have some consistency, but the refs have got a really tough job. I keep harping on about having professional referees at every level.

“There’s enough money in the game for referees to be professional. Give them the best opportunity to make the best decisions, that’s all I say. At the moment, we’re not doing that and I think we’re letting them down a little bit.

“At the end of the day, we can only control the controllables. It’s a cliche but it’s something that we have to do. We have to look after number one and take care of our own business and if we keep playing like that, we’ve got a chance and it’s only a chance at the moment.”

The two wing-backs in the form of Fossey and John were both on the scoresheet at the Kassam Stadium as the recently employed 3-5-2 formation appears to be bearing fruit as the club’s unbeaten run extended to seven games in League One, six of which have been victories.

It was a very open first half at the Kassam Stadium which made for an entertaining encounter as both sides went toe to toe with one another.

Evatt was pleased with the reaction his side showed to go behind twice as well as those of his players who were dropped to the bench after starting the midweek win over Charlton Athletic, such as Will Aimson and Dapo Afolayan.

Evatt said: “They’re (Fossey and John) attackers in this team and we keep encouraging them to get forwards and attack and create space and overloads and when we recognized where the space was today, we really hurt them and that was the wing -backs with all three goals really.

“I think Declan’s finish was great, Marlon getting in at the back post with a fantastic finish and then a wonderful bit of quality, a great pass, a great run, great movement from Baka and worthy of winning any game, I’m delighted with that one.

“I said to the lads this morning that they are a really dangerous team and they can hurt you, they can score. They create lots of chances and we’re going to have to ride it out a little bit.

“The way we want to play is quite similar but maybe not as open, but we were willing to go punch for punch. Just at times I think we overcommitted in the first half and didn’t quite track and our recovery runs weren’t great, but the reaction to going behind twice was great.

“I’m delighted with that and then to have the character and personality to dig in second half and then a real moment of quality and brilliance has won us it.

“Will (Aimson) scored the winning goal on Tuesday and he’s sat today out, but his attitude was first class. Dapo’s probably been our player of the season and today, we didn’t feel it was the right game for him to start.

“We knew for 60 minutes we had to keep things tight and compact. We knew they were dangerous and lively and energetic and it didn’t work out that way because they scored two and we scored two, but they were all very well worked goals .

“We weren’t really cut open or anything like that, but they have to understand it’s a team sport. There’s no I in team, but there isn’t. Together everyone achieves more, but it is a team environment and a team culture and it’s a squad game.

“If Sadio Mane and Salah and Ronaldo and Pogba and Messi can all sit on the bench at some stage, then so can some of ours because we have to share that responsibility out.”




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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