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Ian Evatt sends warning to Bolton’s League One rivals after Port Vale draw

Ian Evatt was sent off (Richard Sellers/PA)
Ian Evatt was sent off (Richard Sellers/PA)

Ian Evatt sent out a warning to the rest of Sky Bet League One after Bolton held on for a goalless draw at Port Vale despite playing almost an hour with 10 men following the dismissal of captain Ricardo Santos.

The fiery Wanderers chief was also dismissed by referee Ross Joyce in a half-time flashpoint, while goalkeeping coach Matt Gilks was booked.

Santos received two yellow cards from the same official who dismissed him at Morecambe last season – a handball decision later rescinded on appeal.

“We are a good football team,” said Evatt, whose side remain unbeaten after four league and cup games.

“We are expansive and we cause teams problems. But when you are that type of side you get labelled a soft touch and flaky. There was none of that today.

“If this team continues fighting like that, the rest of the league has problems.

“However, I am gutted because it is a game we could and should have won.”

On his skipper’s latest red card, Evatt added: “Ricardo is upset and heartbroken.

“He feels it is personal because it is the same referee from last season.

“We have got to manage him and make sure it is not that and he has just been on the rough side of the decisions.

“But it is astonishing we can be on the end of such a poor decision.

“It was the fourth official who gave it and it infuriates me. It is the inconsistency of when fourth officials get involved and when they don’t.

“If you are not sure, knowing Rico is already on a yellow card, you cannot make that decision.

“I don’t want to speak too much about what happened in the tunnel; we will be making a report to the FA and PGMOL.”

Goalkeeper Jack Stevens, one of two Vale debutants, denied Dapo Afolayan in the first half, while Nathan Smith booted Amadou Bakayoko’s shot off the line.

Vale were more offensive in the second half and James Trafford kept out new striker Ellis Harrison on three occasions – a close range save after 77 minutes the pick of the bunch.

Division newcomers Vale avoided a run of three straight defeats in all competitions and manager Darrell Clarke said: “I see us getting better, but we are nowhere near the finished article.

“You are never pleased not to win when a team is down to 10 men for the minutes they were.

“However, I saw a lot of aspects that pleased me. We have to keep building because we know we still have loads of work to do.

“We are trying to establish ourselves as a League One club first and foremost and this is another point added.

“We had a lot of territory in the second half and a lot of ball, so on another day we score goals.

“I thought it was a good game to watch; end to end and they defended well, so you have to credit them.”