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Bolton boss Ian Evatt accuses Chorley of disrespect and criticises state of their pitch

Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt accuses Chorley of some disrespect and criticises the state of their pitch for Saturday’s friendly.

The Trotters came out on top against their National League North neighbours Chorley with goals from Dion Charles, Jón Daði Böðvarsson, and Elias Kachunga securing the 3-1 win at Victory Park.

The performance from Bolton wasn’t was a frustrating despite the victory, Evatt wanting his side to get over mental challenges handed to them away from home preventing them from playing their normal style.

He was pleased however at how his side found a way to get the win on what proved to be a tricky contest and even felt his players were rather fatigued.

He said, as per Manchester Evening News: “I have to choose my words wisely. I said to the players before the game – at times this season when we go away from home, we are going to be challenged. Most of it is challenging mentally. Everything we want to do and be, you are really going to find it difficult when you turn up and the conditions are how they are. But there are also things that we can get out of it as well.

“We are going to have to get over that mental block. We are going to go to places where things aren’t going to be how we want them to be and then we have to find a way to win. And we have done that today, there is no denying that.

“I think first half was a lot better than second half. I think, especially when teams sit off in a low block and you can’t move the ball quickly, it is challenging and again we have to find a way. A set-play was pleasing second half. But the players, especially the ones second half, look fatigued and tired.

“We have worked them so hard. Yesterday was three sessions again, but we will see the benefits of that. We have had a good week with two solid wins and now we are going to have to progress to better opposition and see improvements.”


Credit: Amos Murphy

Evatt also spoke about the length of the grass, which caused issue for how Bolton usually play, with opposition clubs making playing surfaces difficult by not watering them.

He was rather irritated at ‘Amazonian’ surfaces like they found at Victory Park and hinted Bolton may have to look again at the friendlies they arrange in future, asking for clubs like Chorley to give the League One side something back in return.

The game is a traditional fixture during the summer, Evatt took an entire first team squad for Saturday afternoon’s game, compared to a mixture of squad and youth players last season.

He said the Magpies shouldn’t ‘take advantage’ of Bolton and wants the National League North side to ‘show that same respect’ which the League One side showed them, which he felt was lacking. Overall, Evatt was ‘relatively happy’ with another win on the board and more minutes in the legs for his players.

He said: “I am just a little bit frustrated. I try to pay local clubs respect by bringing the first team. They ask me to bring the first team, I bring the first team – all of our best players. Our fans come in their numbers as they always do, paying hard-earned money. It is a two-way street and if they want us to keep coming back then they have to give us something in return. It can’t all be the same direction and I feel today it has all been in one direction, so maybe we will have to monitor what we do next season.

“I understand dry pitches, absolutely. I understand not watering it. But when it becomes Amazonian, it is frustrating. And it is a frustration of mine because as I said, as a football club we are trying to do everything right. We bring our best players, we want to help these local teams – of course we do.

“Our fans again showed great loyalty and respect by coming to watch us play at one of the local clubs that we are trying to help and build relationships with. But please don’t take advantage of that is what I am trying to say.

“Please show that the same respect as what we are showing you, and I don’t think we have been given that today. But the players have learned valuable lessons, it is some more mileage in the legs, we have found a way to win. So overall, relatively happy.”

SEE MORE: EFL and Non League: Friendlies Review – 3rd July 2022

Fans reacted as Bolton boss Ian Evatt accuses Chorley of disrespect and criticises the state of their pitch…

@iced_digital: Pitch was too long but to fair it was only seeded a few weeks back

@L_Patz_86: We struggled in games when conditions didn’t suit us last year, is this something you can normally dictate in friendlies?

@SBBWFC: Evatt clearly thinks Chorley disrespected us with the state of the pitch. I think he disrespected them with these completely unnecessary remarks. He is a decent manager but instinctively not a person I will ever warm to. But he gets judged on results and that’s fine by me.

@GarethHulme: That pitch was so long. Embarrassing from Chorley

@MickHarrison85: I think it was probably done deliberately to stop us wiping the floor with them. Could cost them some cash next season though if we send a B team instead.

@jonny_wanderer: First thing I said was that the pitch looked long and ball travelling slowly. Evatt is right to be annoyed, however this season I’m sure that is going to happen to us at times at away matches as teams try to unsettle us. Need to be able to adapt, so a good test in a sense #bwfc

@Sophthecatsmum: Can’t give an opinion on’t pitch itself but whether it’s intentional or not, it was good practice for when they play on worse. One weakness last season was failure to cope on bad pitches so Chorley cld’ve actually done us a big favour.

@Richard68521496: Simples don’t choose non league clubs for pre season friendlies.

@phoward1974: I think Ian’s comments are a little bit harsh. Was the pitch a bit long and dry? Yes. Is it the worst pitch we have played on in the last 12 months? Far from it. I did wonder if Chorley had left it long on purpose. Playing on bad pitches is something we need to adapt to.

@TrottersBlog: Some slightly odd comments from Evatt IMO.. Chorley only laid their pitch a few weeks ago didn’t they? Important to remember they don’t have anywhere near the resources we do. Just my opinion 💁🏻‍♂️ #bwfc

@lostockwanderer: Nonsense. Were you there? Pitch was a mess, purposely not mowed to prevent us playing the way we do & cater to their long ball which would hold up.

@McBWFC: I was told that their pitch wouldn’t be ready in time to play when we wanted to play the game long before it was confirmed as a fixture. The same source from Chorley was mega impressed with us today on the pitch and probably more so with the attendance. If I knew IE surely did?!

@TrottersBlog: We’ve played on worse surfaces before. You expecting every team this year to cater their pitch to suit Bolton Wanderers only?

@lostockwanderer: Absolutely not, I wouldn’t expect that in a competitive game. But a friendly which helps the smaller club financially, doesn’t sit quite right with me. Longridge had the decency to cut the grass. They’ve probably earnt in excess of £30/40k from todays game.

@TrottersBlog: But if the pitch has only just been laid recently, maybe there’s a reason they didn’t cut it yet. Iles said they had to push for the pitch to be ready.

@LeeAnde43493730: Having gifted Chorley with a massive friendly, Ian is quite right to highlight that he was not consulted on his grass length preferences. Little more respect please Chorley

@Alkerino: We can’t be risking injuries by playing on long grass pre-season. Whether Chorley had a reason to cut the grass or not is irrelevant. Evatts point that if the pitch isn’t up to scratch, we won’t play there is bang on for me.

@davidjackson3: Proper teams go to Chorley, stick 15 past em and make them release statements. Levels.

@potter1989bwfc: I said to my mate that the grass looked long and dry.

@dooley_asa: Pitch was shit, agree move on next year and play someone else.

@GarethHulme: They have a mower? Cut it properly

@CumbrianWhite: I’m not saying Evatt isn’t right in what he’s saying but the club should just have had a quiet word with Chorley about their concerns and not parade his views in public – just causes bad feeling between the club and their supporters

@Chorley_Mon: This guy really thinks Chorley manipulated the pitch to try and gain an advantage? Behave man, pitch has only been down a few weeks, it was a pre season friendly. All about giving players a run out and getting fans & cash in.

@Dazzler36: What a weapon….

@WandererSmurf: Imo Evatt’s complaint sounds valid. I don’t think he was accusing Chorley of underhand tactics, more that they should’ve communicated where their pitch was at, since being relaid. Pro clubs invest hugely in their players & these details matter in preseason.

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