WANDERERS assistant boss Peter Atherton insisted there was widespread disappointment in the dressing room over referee Jeremy Simpson’s decision to send off George Thomason in today’s 1-1 draw at Northampton Town.

With Ian Evatt unable to speak to the press after his own red card at half time, Atherton explained that the midfielder felt harshly treated for his straight red for a challenge on full-back Aaron McGowan, which will almost certainly carry a three-game ban.

“I honestly didn’t see it myself, just because of where we were sat, but others who have seen it, players and staff, are adamant it was not a red card,” he said. “We are very disappointed with that.

“I spoke calmly to the fourth official and he didn’t think it was a red either.”

Asked if Wanderers were prepared to appeal their fifth red card of the season, Atherton added: “I honestly don’t know, it is up to the gaffer and the club secretary to decide that.

“In terms of what we did do, we reacted. We didn’t start well, we know that, but to get a point away from home with 10 men and dominate the way we did in that second half was brilliant and it shows big character from the players.”

Evatt did not come back out for the second half of the game, having been shown a red card at the interval.

It is understood that referee Simpson claimed “foul and abusive” language had been used by the Bolton boss – although that was strongly refuted by backroom staff after the game.

Atherton said: “I am unsure what happened, exactly. The gaffer went in to speak with the referee, he wasn’t angry, he went back in with the players and was about to address them for the half time team talk and the referee wanted him back.

“He (Evatt) just said to me there that he thought the referee was going to apologise to him.

“He got the red but that is as much as I know right now.”

Wanderers fell behind in just the second minute when Kieron Bowie turned the ball into the net after Joel Coleman had tipped Marc Leonard’s free-kick on to the post.

Atherton admits the Whites were well below par in the first half.

“We are no fools, we know what we are up against,” he said. “We spoke to the players explained about the pitch, the atmosphere and what they would be looking to do but we didn’t start the game well. It grew from that.

“With the red card it was a big uphill challenge but how they responded to the changes, the switch in formation, was excellent from the players.

“There was no hangover from Tuesday. If anything we didn’t have the 90 minutes lagging in the players’ legs and we got home a lot earlier than we would normally have done.

“There are no excuses from that.”