Frustrated Wanderers boss Ian Evatt has raged that Dapo Afolayan is being penalised by League One referees for being “too good”.
Beaten by a solitary goal at Sheffield Wednesday, Bolton were left to rue several wasted chances at Hillsborough on a day when little went right in front of goal.
Afolayan found himself at the centre of controversy in the second half when he went down under a challenge in the penalty box, only to be booked for diving by referee David Rock.
The decision infuriated Evatt, who believes his in-form winger is not getting a fair crack of the whip from League One officials.
“I don’t know how you can book him for simulation when he’s been clearly contacted,” he raged after the final whistle. “He wouldn’t dive. He’s running in on goal to shoot on goal. Dapo wants to score, he wants to get his team back in the game, he doesn’t dive, none of my players dive.
“There is physical contact all around the pitch. No-one goes to ground. If anything, we are naive. We are too honest, so it’s absolutely heart-breaking when he gets booked for simulation and he has got a clear opportunity to score a goal. We can’t get that wrong.
“Dapo is frustrated because he doesn’t feel like he’s getting consistent treatment. He feels like he’s being penalised for being good. I feel like he’s being penalised for being good.”
Evatt felt Hertfordshire ref Rock should have dished out a second yellow card to Wednesday centre-half Dominic Iorfa in first-half stoppage time when he tripped Kieran Lee on the edge of the box as he was running in on goal.
“I don’t know where the consistency is with one yellow card to the next,” he complained. “It doesn’t matter. We all know that Iorfa should have been sent off. Everybody knows it, but he wasn’t and that’s wrong.”
Evatt claims Afolayan has had extra attention from opposition sides in recent weeks as he is identified as one of Bolton’s chief goalscoring threats.
Though the over-riding feeling on the day was one of exasperation, particularly given a handful of clear-cut goal-scoring chances were wasted, the Bolton boss maintains that his team is still on the right track.
“I said to them before and I’ve just said to them then, it’s a mark of where we’re at right now as a football team and a football club that Sheffield Wednesday feel the need to double and triple up on them and change formations two, three, four times in a game to try and stop what we’re doing and still couldn’t find solutions.
“They’ve won the game, credit to them, they’ve battled, well done, but we feel like we haven’t got what we deserved, and I think everyone in the stadium will admit that.”