Sunday 17 December 2017

Coyle left fuming at referee Wiley's 'wisdom'

Everton 2
Bolton 0

Chris Brereton

With three wins from their last four for the visitors and Everton having won all of their previous six home league encounters, this was technically a fixture between two of the Premier League's form teams. Technically.

By 4.45, it was Everton's run that had been extended but although that statistic is impressive, their best run since 1990 in fact, the victory had as much to do with a generously spirited referee as any footballing dominance.

When Alan Wiley decided to dismiss Gretar Steinsson for tangling with Yakubu on the edge of the visitors' box with 20 minutes to go, stoic Bolton's hopes of a draw left the field with the Icelandic international.

Mikel Arteta showed fine cunning in moving the resulting free-kick closer to Bolton's box and then stung them further by curling the ball into the bottom corner.

Steven Pienaar then settled it as he swept home a loose ball with 90 seconds remaining to confirm a victory that underlined the opinion that, if not for injuries, Everton's season could have been so much better.

Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager, was more concerned with the here and now and berated Wiley for his red card. "My initial impression was that Yakubu was offside but, if there was contact, it was minimal," he said. "Mr Wiley, in his wisdom, decided it was a red card, which sometimes happens, but my issue then is that he allows Mikel Arteta to move the ball four yards closer to our goal."

His opposite number, David Moyes, however, insisted the referee was right to dismiss Steinsson. "When I first saw the sending off I wasn't sure but having seen it again I thought it was right," he said.

"They didn't really offer many attacking threats and I think overall we deserved it."

Sunday Independent

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