IAN Evatt has confirmed that Wanderers will appeal the red card handed to Ricardo Santos in the 4-1 defeat at Blackpool “one million per cent”.

The Bolton boss was waiting to speak with match referee Josh Smith as he gave his assessment of a frustrating afternoon to the local press.

George Thomason’s early goal had put Bolton in front but Jake Beesley and Marvin Ekpiteta hit back before half time to give the Seasiders an advantage.

Beesley scored the third from the spot, Santos given a straight red for a foul on Kyle Joseph, and then Jordan Gabriel rounded things off with the fourth.

The talk – at least from a Bolton perspective – was all about the performance of the referee after the final whistle.

“I have to be very careful with what I say, obviously,” Evatt said. “We got ourselves ahead, we were on top, in control of the game, first half in particular and then gave away a free kick that was never a foul. Never a foul.

“However, we cannot blame the referee for the way we defended it. That is on us.

“The second one was another transition switch-off, went 2-1 down, and then we have two chances from two yards out in front of goal that you just cannot miss. Two tap-ins. They change the whole dynamic and perception of the game.

“Second half it was us probing again but the only way we were in any danger today was a transition or a set play. We had control.

“The sending off, the penalty for the third, it ends the game.

“I don’t think it is a penalty, I don’t think it is a foul. But it is definitely not a red card.

“Nobody can say, regardless of whether he got the ball or not, that he didn’t go for it. That is the rule, the double jeopardy thing.

“Even if it goes to 3-1, which is a mistake from the referee, it is not a foul. He can’t send him off. We would still have had a chance.

“I was baffled by the whole performance from the referee today. And I have said to the lads it cannot be allowed to define us. There have been times in my tenure here where we have been knocked on to the floor but we have to be the first to get up. We have to respond.

“You see results elsewhere. It happens and this is just one defeat. We are still in a fantastic situation but this makes it a bit tougher, that’s all.”

Evatt apologised to the sold-out away contingent for the result, and hopes to make amends with a win at Wigan Athletic in midweek.

But he felt that even after some poor defending in the first half, the points were still there for the taking before Santos’s red.

He said: “We were good second half and we were in control. Their moments were all in turnovers, transitions and set plays they didn’t create anything from general play and it was us that was probing. I thought the general performance was okay and deserved more.

“Just as we were getting going that decision changed everything. And even then we had control but it was a turnover from a set play that costs us the fourth goal.

“It is extremely disappointing and we are extremely sorry to our fans who travelled for the result. We have to put it right and we have a great chance on Tuesday.”

Speaking after the final whistle, Evatt said he was working with his backroom to get a proper look at the incident and to speak calmly to the officials – but that appealing any potential ban for Santos was a done deal.

He said: “The referee won’t talk to me, even though I asked politely. I will wait the half hour as I am supposed to do and ask him the questions.

“It wasn’t just that decision, there were lots, but I am trying to not make a big deal of this because there is nothing we can do to change it.

“We have to own our own behaviour. Even though the first goal wasn’t a foul, we need to defend better. Third one is a turnover and we made bad decisions, which put us at risk.

“I am at my wits end with it, I don’t know where to go with it or what to do. It is killing the love of the game that I have because I want to fight for the fans and the players, they want to do that too, but we don’t feel like we are getting the rub of the green in any way, shape or form.

“We will be appealing the red card one million per cent. I have seen it back a few times and even if the ref says their player got to the ball first, which he didn’t, Rico is making a genuine attempt to play the ball and is goal-side of their man.”