DEAN Holdsworth, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Tim Ream, Paul Comstive, even John Byrom – Dion Charles can take some consolation knowing that glaring errors in front of goal can happen to the best of them.

The miss that momentarily had the whole of social media shaking their head in disbelief on Monday night is one that Wanderers’ top scorer will want to quickly forget.

Charles certainly has banked some goodwill among the Bolton supporters, who were singing his name again before he had chance to remove his hands from his head as the ball bounced wide of Will Norris’s goal.

But there is no disguising the fact that the Northern Ireland international, with 15 goals to his name for club and country this season, should have added to his tally. The old striker’s proverb states that the most important chance is the next one, and Charles will be desperate to put that moment behind him as swiftly as he can.

Charles has been as reliable a goal-scorer as Bolton have had in some time and his record of slightly better than one goal every six shots compared favourably with the very best in the division.

He currently has the highest XG of any player in League One, based on the quality of chances that are being presented to him. And few have been more presentable than the one which fell his way in the 28th minute in front of an unforgiving Fratton End.

Charles is unlikely to be saddled with the same baggage as one of his predecessors, Holdsworth, whose miss in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Aston Villa remains one of the first memories fans reach for when his time as a player at Bolton is mentioned.

And besides, there were issues that Evatt and Bolton will need to address which extended way beyond a momentary bit of embarrassment for their prized striker.

Portsmouth’s cause was helped when Sky Sports decided to screen the game on a Monday night, the evening air and floodlit action feeding directly into what makes Fratton Park a particularly unique atmosphere in English football.

While the men in blue fed from that intensity, Wanderers second-guessed, backed away, and there are players who made their way back to the North West knowing they had not been as brave and reliable in possession as they had been so often this season.

Blackpool dismantled Pompey on their own patch a few weeks back, running roughshod over full-backs Jack Sparkes and Joe Raffety. Though their cause was helped in the end by a red card for Joe Morrell on the hour, Evatt clearly took notes, and his decision to put the more attack-minded Randell Williams in for Jack Iredale underlined his intention to try and win the battle on the flanks.

In truth, that selection choice fell flat. Neither Williams nor right wing-back Josh Dacres-Cogley were especially reliable on the ball and in the former’s case, Abu Kamara’s threat throughout the first hour of the game left Eoin Toal exposed too often on that side of the pitch.

In the middle of the park the message had been issued to switch play regularly, something George Thomason attempted with mixed success but that neither Josh Sheehan or Paris Maghoma handed especially well. Both players have been in rude form but looked abnormally subdued in a chaotic midfield, which left Bolton’s play feeling rushed and ill-considered at times.

Wanderers had shown real improvement at defensive set pieces since the turn of 2023, yet again they let standards slip, not only for Conor Shaughnessy’s opening goal before the half-time interval but for a number of corners and free kicks fizzed into the box by Sparkes, forcing panicky clearances and inviting further pressure.

Ricardo Santos has rarely had a less comfortable game, emerging from a heavyweight tussle with Australian forward Kusini Yengi with a cut and swollen lip and, worse still, wounded pride.

It is often said that when the Bolton captain is on his game, so the team flourish. His one-on-one defending has been as good as anything in League One for the last couple of years, yet even he had lapses which added to the feeling of unease among the 742 travelling fans.

How many of those hardy folk journeyed back north willing to write off the performance as a ‘bad day at the office?’ We may only find out this weekend as Bolton host Bristol Rovers seeking to get straight back into the winning groove.

Evatt will surely want his team on the front foot from the start of the game to ensure there is no scope for supporters – or indeed his players – to dwell on what went wrong at Pompey and risk a second slide.