Declan John’s first-half goal seemed to lay the foundation for more at the UniBol as Bolton produced some of their best football of the season in the early stages.
But Stevenage worked their way into the game and then got a window of opportunity when MJ Williams was sent off by referee Trevor Kettle for a challenge on Tom Pett.
Kettle has now issued five red cards to Wanderers players in his last six games – but Evatt has not yet decided if the club will appeal, having seen Marcus Maddison’s three-game ban overturned in midweek.
“In real time, I thought he got the ball and his momentum took him into the player,” the manager said. “I believe Mr Kettle has a history of sending off our players and, for me, it looked like he got the red card out very quickly without giving himself time to think.
“I asked their player (Pett) and he said ‘not really, it was a little bit late’ but that there wasn’t much in it.”
Evatt was pleased with the defensive side of Bolton’s game, picking out centre-backs Alex Baptiste and Ricardo Santos for particular praise.
The lack of ruthlessness in the first half so nearly proved costly, though, which put a dampener on a result which lifted the club to 13th in the table.
“We certainly made hard work of it,” he said. “I said to the players, first half we played out from the back really well – probably the best we have done – on a really difficult pitch. We’d got ourselves 1-0 up and were completely controlling the game and playing forwards, causing problems.
“But because it was easy we came off it. When the score remains 1-0 anything can happen, especially in this league as we’ve seen with referee’s decisions, sending offs, set pieces, bounce of the ball in the box, deflections. We have to put the game to bed.
“We have to get to two or three and be relentless in our attitude with that.
“If the ref makes a mistake, someone gets sent off, it’s 3-1 or 4-1, not 1-0. It’s that edge and side of the game where we need to be more demanding of each other. We have to do more and have more aggression in our play.
“With the way we played first half, it looked to me like we could have gone through some gears but we didn’t do that. And we can’t have that attitude if we want to get where this club wants to be. We have to be ruthless and not feel sorry for the opposition.
“If you want to showboat, showboat, but in the right areas. Not where anything can happen, as we have seen in the last few weeks.”