CONSIDERING the way Premier League football has given over to VAR, punishing EFL managers for reviewing replays of controversial decisions seems a little rich.

Ian Evatt fell foul of a little-known rule on Tuesday night, receiving a red card for the “mis-use of technology” in his dugout after referee Tom Nield had dismissed his striker, Dion Charles.

It has become a common sight at Wanderers whenever a controversial incident occurs, that Evatt, his coaching staff and analysts gather at the side of the dugout to review footage, available a matter of seconds after it had occurred in real time.

There is nothing in the rulebook to prevent managers watching back replays – but the key in this case is whether fourth official Martin Coy felt the Bolton boss had behaved in an “inappropriate manner” when he conveyed his findings.

Assistant manager Peter Atherton claimed there had been no unacceptable language used by Evatt but the key to his appeal will lie in what information was passed on to referee Nield and what he deemed “inappropriate” in the circumstances.

The validity of Charles’s second yellow card has certainly been debated among Bolton fans, many of whom support Atherton’s view that there had been a trip on the striker by Fleetwood’s goalkeeper, Jay Lynch, which itself should have been punished.

Moments earlier Charles had been involved in a touchline tussle with Shaun Rooney, which had clearly not improved his mood.

Rule changes at the start of the season have placed extra pressure on officials to show yellow cards to players who impede the quick taking of free-kicks, throw-ins and the like, and Wanderers have already racked up a couple of cautions that they could have easily avoided. Whether Charles falls into that category is debatable but after going into Nield’s book in the first 45 minutes he was a ripe target for Fleetwood players looking to indulge in a bit of gamesmanship and perhaps should have steered well clear?

Equally, Evatt had brought off George Thomason at half time after a conversation with Nield, who had warned that the midfielder had to “be careful” in the second half. With hindsight, would it have been sensible to withdraw Charles too?

Wanderers know that they cannot appeal Charles’s one match ban, which will kick in for this weekend’s visit of Wigan Athletic. Victor Adeboyejo’s hat-trick and current form may ease that pain somewhat, as will Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s return to fitness.

The absence of Evatt in the dugout need not be a major drama, either, even for such a profile game.

Both incidents serve to highlight the massive differences between playing football at EFL level, receiving part-time referees with no additional help from VAR, and those in the Premier League. Ironically, had referee Nield been offered the chance to watch back Evatt’s replay he may have settled the matter more conclusively.

The West Yorkshire referee is - unlike many of his peers - a full time official and a member of the Select Group. His performance was always going to be under extra scrutiny, given what happened last season in the game against Forest Green. Charles’s case of mistaken identity had even been laughed off in the pre-match press conference.

Even with a 3-1 win there were few smiles around the Toughsheet Stadium on Tuesday night, however, as supporters vented their feelings throughout most of the second half. The frustration continued long into the night on social media, too.

Evatt was unable to present his side of the story, with new EFL rules preventing managers from speaking to the press after receiving a red card. On one hand that ensured he got into no further trouble – his assistant Pete Atherton left to tread carefully around the subject with his post-match assessment – but on the other, it left Wanderers fans no wiser about what had happened, fuelling more anger.

Wanderers’ 100 per cent record continued regardless of the controversy and when Evatt is freed to speak, surely that will be the point he most eager to make. His team is looking as ruthless as they have at any stage in his time as manager and if they can continue that into Saturday lunchtime then they stand a good chance of a result which would lift the mood once again.