MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray was unhappy with the referee’s performance after defeat officially ended their play-off challenge.
Former England centre-back Jonathan Woodgate was adjudged to have taken down Chung-yong Lee to concede a penalty, and was then given a second yellow card after a professional foul on Marvin Sordell.
Mowbray was not pleased with those decisions and believed his players should have taken something away from the game.
He said: “I thought we deserved more than that and we needed a better official to referee the game because there were some bewildering decisions out there today.
“The penalty was one of them and the sending-off was certainly one of them.
“I thought we were the better team but the history books will show that we lost. They won’t show that we conceded a lucky goal and then a penalty which, having seen it half a dozen times, was never a penalty kick, but that sums up the referee’s performance.”
The Boro defence was nearly breached within the first two minutes when Bolton’s Craig Davies tried a speculative 18-yard shot that Jason Steele did well to tip around the post.
Barely 60 seconds later, Steele was in the action again, tipping over from Medo following Chris Eagles’ corner.
Boro fought back and Scott McDonald should have done better when presented with a headed chance just six yards from goal after 23 minutes.
The visitors were the first to show after the interval when a shot from Mustapha Carayol from 20 yards brought a desperate stop from Adam Bogdan, but the Trotters broke the deadlock on their next foray upfield.
Lee’s pass provided the opportunity and from 12 yards out, Eagles made no mistake after 50 minutes.
Boro levelled six minutes later when McDonald crossed from the left and Kieron Dyer headed home from six yards out.
Parity lasted a mere three minutes, though. Woodgate’s foul on Lee resulted in a booking for the former Leeds man and a penalty, from which Marvin Sordell restored the hosts’ lead.
Five minutes later another Woodgate foul saw the Boro man dismissed and the visitors’ hopes effectively disappear.
Bolton almost added to their tally with 10 minutes left but Steele did well to keep out another effort from distance by Sordell.
Bolton: Bogdan, Ricketts, Knight, Dawson, Alonso, Lee, Pratley, Medo, Eagles, C Davies (Eaves 72), Sordell (Butterfield 87). Subs not used: Lonergan, Ream, Hall, Vela, Lester. Goals: Eagles 50, Sordell 59 pen.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, R Williams, Woodgate, Halliday, McEachran (Emnes 59), Smallwood, Dyer (Bailey 69), McDonald, Carayol, Ameobi (Bikey 66). Subs not used: Leutwiler, Main, Miller, Haroun. Sent Off: Woodgate (64). Booked: Woodgate. Goals: Dyer 56.
Att: 18,420 Ref: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).