Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt slams Wigan Athletic player for post-match celebrations

There was some scrapping on the pitch and in the stands after the well contested derby.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 28th February 2024

Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt has criticised Wigan Athletic following their 1-0 loss away at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night, with a player from the home team’s celebrations sparking a bit of a coming together on the pitch.

The long-fraught derby between the two Greater Manchester clubs is always a feisty one but tensions flared after the full-time whistle when winger Martial Godo went to celebrate in front of the travelling Bolton fans.

Understandably rumbling not only the away support but the players on the pitch, it wasn’t long before individuals began confronting each other, including both Evatt and Latics boss Shaun Maloney, with multiple club staff and match officials needed to separate people and calm things down.

Addressing the furious finish to the game, Evatt said, “We just won’t accept one of their players celebrating in front of our fans” and was also quick to remind the home side that there is quite a gulf between the two sides in the table.

Evatt essentially said, ‘Mind the gap’.

“It’s not acceptable — go and celebrate with your own fans, no problem with that, don’t celebrate in front of ours”, Evatt continued, adding: “You certainly shouldn’t be celebrating when you’re mid-table, that’s what I think”.


Bolton sit joint second in League One on 66 points with an extra game in hand on Derby County above them; meanwhile, the Tics are currently in 13th place having played one more game than their fierce rivals, though they have taken all six points from their two meetings this season.

The 42-year-old head coach went on to admit that he was frustrated with the result and felt “apologetic to the fans” as he felt they and the squad deserved more from the game, insisting that Wigan “probably know they’ve got away with one” and the celebrations merely proved the Trotters were “a big scalp”.


Left fuming by the 20-year-old’s taunting, who is only on loan at Wigan from Fulham, there were also glimpses of in-fighting amongst the Bolton supporters and while it was nothing compared to the unsavoury scenes in Westhoughton back in August 2023, it capped off an ill-tempered ending.

The scenes the Wigan player’s celebrations caused and Ian Evatt took exception to.

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Elsewhere, opposite number Maloney said the result should serve as wind in the sails for his players, telling BBC Radio Manchester: “Tonight was just a real deep desire to not concede, a really strong mentality. It’s definitely a question I’ve put to us as a team and as a group.

“I know we’re really young, we’ve got a lot of academy boys there that have not played a full season before, but I want that mentality and tonight they showed it”, he added — citing Godo in particular as one of the top performers on the night.


Nevertheless, as Evatt hastened to add both in defiance and to quell and simmering derby day hangover amongst Bolton fans, there are still “12 big games” left in the season and it’s his team that is fighting for promotion back to the Championship after more than half a decade out of the second tier.

You can watch the highlights from the fiery clash between Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanders here:

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Featured Images — @slen002 (via X)/Wanderers TV (via IG)/JordanWAFC (via X)