Coyle: Ref was '100 per cent wrong'

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

OWEN Coyle blasted referee Graham Scott for denying his side a penalty at 1-1 as Wanderers were dumped out of the League Cup by Crawley.

Darren Pratley was booked for diving in the 89th minute after falling under a challenge by Kyle McFazdean. Moments later, the Red Devils broke to score a winner through former Bury striker Nicky Ajose and give the Sussex side a memorable scalp.

“I didn't think it was a very fluent game but we could have added a couple more at 1-0,” Coyle said.

“We conceded two soft goals but let's not kid ourselves, when Darren Pratley went down towards the end it was a stonewall penalty. He got booked for simulation but I'm telling you now that he was 100 per cent wrong. I didn't think so at the time, and I've watched it back and I know that's the case now. Those decisions are crucial in any game.”

Coyle rested the likes of Chung-Yong Lee, Kevin Davies and Tyrone Mears from the start but saw his new-look side struggle to build on the half-time lead they were given through Benik Afobe.

Substitute Billy Sharp pulled Crawley level with 10 minutes remaining – and with the tie seemingly heading for extra time, Ajose struck to give the League One side victory.

“We made seven changes and, yes, you lose a bit of cohesion when you do that but we had enough good players to win the game,” Coyle said.

“Fair play to Crawley because it was a good atmosphere and they have some good players, but we should have had enough to see it through.”

Coyle did not feel his decision to switch from a five-man midfield to 4-4-2 had any bearing on the result.

“It didn't change the game because we probably should have scored when we did that,” he said.

“We gave them two soft goals – it's nothing to do with formations and tactics. It's players.

“We scored a goal and should have added to it, simple as that.”

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