Bolton Wanderers boss will stand by Elias Kachunga after red card row

Ian Evatt has moved to calm the storm surrounding last night’s red card drama, insisting Elias Kachunga still has a future with Wanderers.

The experienced striker was booed off the pitch by some of his own supporters in the second half, having been involved in an incident which saw team-mate Dion Charles mistakenly sent off against Forest Green Rovers.

Kachunga was caught on replays lashing out at marking defender Brandon Cooper but the referee’s assistant Darren Williams picked out Charles as the guilty party.

Both Evatt and Kachunga tried to communicate the error to referee Tom Nield, to no avail, leaving Bolton to play the remaining 68 minutes of the match with 10 men.

A large section of fans cheered the decision to substitute Kachunga in the second half for MJ Williams and Evatt’s team held on for three points.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town front man has had a mixed experience since signing for Wanderers at the start of last season, due in the main to his low goal return of six in 75 appearances in all competitions.

Addressing the players’ reception from the crowd, Evatt said the club had a duty to support him in the long term – but could not excuse his actions on the night.

“Taking tonight out of the equation, I think he has had a rough time of things,” he told The Bolton News.

“I think he deserves more respect than sometimes he is shown.

“The goals thing, obviously we all see that, but there is so much more that he brings to the team.

“Today, he has let himself down. For tonight he has got nobody else to blame but himself. But in general – and they are two different things here – we should support him. He needs support.”

Few around the University of Bolton Stadium could explain the course of events after Charles walked – somewhat puzzled – back down the tunnel 28 minutes into Tuesday night’s game.

Asked whether fourth official Ollie Yates could have aided matters with his own input, Evatt said: “He isn’t allowed to see replays. Nobody else had seen it apart from the linesman.

“We can look at the replay right away but the fourth can’t, so all he could do is take the linesman’s version of events.

“The crazy thing was that the linesman who had shown real eagle eyes to spot the incident then mistakenly made the wrong decision with the player, and he was set that it was Dion.

“People may say ’10 men is 10 men’ but what that did do was restrict our counter attack because Dion has electric pace to get away from defenders. We can break and spring from that low block into a counter-attacking situation but we didn’t really have it with Kacha.

“Sometimes you think you have seen it all in football and then it comes out to surprise you again.”

The Football Association are expected to overturn Charles’s automatic three-match ban and then sit to decide a punishment for Kachunga before the weekend.