Bolton manager Phil Parkinson was left baffled by referee Tony Harrington’s decision to show him a red card in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Leeds.
Parkinson was sent to the stands following a melee shortly after Ezgjan Alioski’s freak goal had restored Leeds’ advantage midway through the second half.
The visiting boss blamed the flashpoint on Mateusz Klich spraying water down Joe Williams’ back in the aftermath of the Bolton midfielder’s foul on Alioski.
“I’m just going to see the ref in a minute because there was a melee on the side of the pitch - one of their players has poured a drinks bottle over one of our player’s head,” said Parkinson.
“Both sets of staff have gone to separate it because they didn’t want it to escalate into anything. I did have a go at Pontus Jansson saying I felt he’d instigated it by running over.
“There were about 15 people in amongst it being calm and he’s decided to pick me out and give me a red card.
“So I’ll ask him what his reasons for that are.”
Bolton were beaten heavily by Norwich last weekend but delivered a much-improved performance against their City’s promotion rivals at Elland Road.
Patrick Bamford’s early penalty appeared to have put Leeds on course for a routine victory but Mark Beevers quickly equalised as Bolton gave as good as they got in an even contest.
Wanderers left empty-handed despite the positive display, but Parkinson saw enough to convince him they can avoid the drop.
“I’m very disappointed not to get something out of the game, especially with the manner we conceded the winner,” he said.
“The lads worked exceptionally hard to take a good team right to the wire. Leeds have played with energy all season and ran teams off the pitch at times but we went toe-to-toe with them and matched them all over the pitch.
“I’m very pleased with the way we played.
“I felt coming through these games against Norwich and Leeds that if we were still in touch we’d have a decent chance. Rotherham and Reading have drawn and it’s game on. The season really starts from now.”
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa suggested he was frustrated after his team delivered a familiar performance in a nervy win, although he felt it set his team up nicely for their game in hand at QPR in midweek.
“It’s a game very similar to other games we’ve played so far: we missed chances to score and suffered from set-pieces,” he said.
“Bolton were a team who fought a lot and had many chances to score.
“The dangerous actions created by the opponent were from set-pieces especially. This has happened many times before in the Championship.
“As we won today we are in good condition to play the next game.”