NEIL LENNON blamed referee Paul Tierney for Bolton’s “new era” starting with a 2-1 defeat from Preston.
The under-pressure former Celtic boss raged at the whistler following the troubled club’s first game following last week’s £7.5million takeover.
Lennon believed the visitors’ late winner was offside and claimed Daniel Johnson should have been sent off for bringing down Mark Davies with the score at 1-1.
He said: “The officials really irritated me. Davies is breaking through, there is contact and he goes down. But it’s not a free-kick, a penalty and it’s not a red card.
“When the ball comes back across to Eoin Doyle, he is in an offside position.”
Lennon, whose position is also in sharp focus, said: “I thought we played well in the first-half.
“Preston were strong after the interval, but we had a good spell and Zach Clough had great chance to put us 2-1 up.
“We missed good chances again to win the game and we got caught by a sucker punch.”
Bottom of the table Wanderers, now 11 points from safety, remain under a transfer embargo despite former striker Dean Holdsworth’s consortium’s successful takeover.
Lennon added: “The sooner it gets lifted, the better. If we can get players in quickly it would be of great benefit because the squad is very thin.”
The Irishman was forced to leave out on-loan Liverpool player and admitted: “We need to get it resolved one way or another.
“If he plays 50 per cent of the games, we need to pay £100,000 to Liverpool. We tried to get it deferred, but we couldn’t get it done.”
Jordan Hugill’s first league goal cancelled out Liam Trotter’s 22nd-minute opener for Lennon’s outfit before Doyle scrambled in a dramatic late winner.
Asked who had got the final touch, visiting gaffer Simon Grayson said: “I don’t give a hoot. If the goalkeeper had scored I wouldn’t have been too bothered.
“I think Doyle is trying to claim it. They can fight it out among themselves, but, ultimately, it says Preston won 2-1 and that’s what it’s about: the team winning rather than the individuals.”
AIDEN McGEADY fired the perfect response to the Sheffield Wednesday doubters who had written him off.
The former Celtic winger agreed a January loan move from Everton, but failed to impress the fans after a slow start to his four-month contract at Hillsborough.
However, McGeady netted his first goal for the club as he got the ball rolling in the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest and earned praise from boss Carlos Carvalhal.
The Portuguese coach said: “It was good for Aiden because people have been asking questions about him.
“But, of course, we know the player, his quality and what he can bring to the team.
“We always realised what he could do for the club.”
Martin O’Neill has already warned McGeady he needs regular first team football between now and the end of the campaign if he is to be considered for the Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro Championships in France in the summer.
Another ex-Celt, GARY HOOPER, hammered in the second goal while Marco Matias claimed the killer third to end Wednesday’s five game winless run.
The only blip was the red card for Scotland international midfielder Barry Bannan for a reckless challenge on on former Aston Villa team-mate Eric Lichaj.
Carvalhal added: “I do not want to waste one second talking about promotion. We must use our time to prepare for the next game, to control what we can control. Anything else is artificial.
“We try to win the next game, beyond that, we must not lose our focus and concentration. Winning our next game is within our control. So we will focus on that.
“We deserved the win and we deserved the goals, because we played good football and that is important.”
The victory means the Yorkshire outfit, who had looked to be slipping out of the play-off race, remain sixth – a point ahead of seventh-placed Cardiff City.
Forest, meanwhile, who had a 13-game unbeaten run from November to February, have now lost five of their last six Championship games, conceding nine goals and scoring just two.
Boss Dougie Freedman, the former Scottish international striker, was sacked yesterday after the poor sequence of results.
GARY CALDWELL slammed his Wigan players after the thrilling 3-3 draw with rock-bottom Colchester.
The former Celtic and Scotland skipper raged: “That just wasn’t good enough.
“When you squander as many chances as we did, then you have to be aware that the opposition are going to come back into the game.
“The second-half performance was nowhere near what we expect. I warned the players that you show your superiority on the scoreboard.
“We’ll have to work hard to put it right next week when we face Bradford.”
Will Grigg’s late strike secured a point for Caldwell’s outfit who are second top of League One on 65 points, six adrift of Burton.
Yanic Wildschut put the Latics in front, but the home side levelled through Alex Gilbey before Wigan restored their lead with Ryan Colclough’s calm finish.
However, Elliot Lee levelled and George Moncur converted a penalty-kick to put the pressure on Caldwell’s side until Grigg’s injury-time equaliser.
TONY MOWBRAY praised his Coventry City players AND fans after the 1-0 win at Blackpool.
The former Celtic boss went into the game against the relegation-threatened Seasiders after four consecutive League One defeats.
However, Mowbray was delighted as the players stopped the rot with a goal from Hoops reject Marc-Antoine Fortune.
He said: “The team played with heart and soul and put everything on the line.
“There was also an amazing support here which shows the players what a big club they’re playing for.
“Our targets haven’t changed. We needed a result from somewhere which would kick-start us to winning football matches. Hopefully, this is it.
“We’ve got to fight hard to achieve our aims for the season.”
Fortune, who has now played for Mowbray at West Brom as well as Celtic, lashed in the only goal in the 26th minute when he pounced on a mistake by goalkeeper Colin Doyle.
The Sky Blues are now in seventh place, within three points of the play-offs, but 10 adrift of the automatic promotion places.