PHIL Parkinson said pre-match protests had little bearing on his team’s performance against West Brom.

Goals from Jay Rodriguez and Sam Field gave the Baggies a 2-0 victory at the University of Bolton Stadium on a night where frustrations between supporters and the club’s ownership reached a head with thousands gathering for a demonstration prior to kick-off.

Disturbances were reported throughout the game, including a shower of tennis balls on the pitch, but Parkinson was generally pleased with his team’s performance. “I was disappointed to lose,” he said. “I thought we played well for the majority of the game.

“First goal was poor from our point of view. We gave a cheap free-kick away and then we should have dealt with the ball at the back stick, albeit it’s a great header back across from Dawson and we know he’s a danger.

“Was it offside? Marginal. Would VAR have given it offside? Probably yes.

“It was a shame because the first half we were the better team. We got into some great crossing positions, put some good balls into the box, Gary (O’Neil) had a great chance from a header.

“Second half we restricted them to very little, got into some great positions ourselves. The second goal is just a moment of real final-third quality from them, which we know they possess.”

Parkinson had asked for fans’ backing during 90 minutes and though the tension was hard to ignore, the atmosphere inside the stadium was generally supportive.

The Bolton boss had few complaints with how his players handled themselves.

“We knew there was going to be some form of protest and what happened before the game I don’t know because I was in the dressing room,” he said. “There was a bit at the start but after that I didn’t think there was too much disruption.

“We said to the lads at half time and before that whatever is going on around the ground, just concentrate on playing. And they did that, they kept going, we can’t use that as an excuse. There were some good performances from us tonight and we have got to take heart from that and keep going.”