Bolton striker Dion Charles was sent off for what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity in their 1-0 win over Forest Green.
Charles had put Wanderers ahead after six minutes when he saved a Gethin Jones cross.
But there were farcical scenes in the 28th minute when the goalscorer was shown a red card by referee Tom Nield.
It was team-mate Elias Kachunga who appeared to throw a punch at Rovers defender Brandon Cooper when they cleared the ball.
However, the 10 men held on to stay three points behind fourth-placed Derby, who scored twice in the last three minutes to beat Port Vale 2-1.
Ian Evatt, Bolton’s manager, said Kachunga had got it wrong, but so had the officials. “We cannot deny that Elias has failed everyone. What he has done is not acceptable which shows that lack of discipline is not acceptable and he has apologized to the group and we will deal with things internally.
“There’s quite a lot of that (jost) going on in the box all the time. For the linesman to spot it, it’s a good place and you have to have a sharp eye for that. But to get a player involved who was probably 15 yards away from the incident is obviously confusing, but it’s a bit done and we’ll move on.”
Asked if Kachunga had tried to point out the foul to the referee, Evatt said: “Yes, he did. And we all tried to tell him. I even went onto the field to try to tell him. But at that time the linesman was sure it was Dion. Mistakes happen and hopefully it gets fixed.”
Evatt also believed the lack of a video assistant referee was a factor, adding that it was time for the English Football League to catch up with the Premier League in terms of technology.
“There’s enough economics in the game that we could have Var for every division in the English pyramid,” he said. “This is as important to us as it is to any Premier League team.”