Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen pointed to his captain’s physical style of play, noting: “I think the referee has a history with him.” A history that includes this particular ref, Mark Clattenburg, booking Davies four times this season.
Davies believed he had snatched victory when heading home Lee Chung-Yong’s free-kick in the last minute. But Clattenburg thought differently and penalised Davies for a push on defender Brede Hangeland – a push few others at the Reebok saw.
Jaaskelainen said: “I was extremely disappointed. The referee said he had put two hands on the defender but his hands were down when he headed the ball.”
The result left Bolton just a point above the relegation zone as Hull and Burnley leapt above them after securing vital wins. Jaaskelainen could at least take consolation from a clean sheet, only the team’s second in 25 games.
The Finn also feels performances are improving under Owen Coyle, despite winning just once in five Premier League games.
He said: “We defended well as a team. I don’t think in the second half they had a kick towards our goal.
“You can see the work we have put in. The midfield players go more with the runners now and we get much tighter to our markers.”
Bolton certainly created the better chances. Mark Davies had a shot diverted on to the bar by goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on the stroke of half-time and Johan Elmander shot wide when well placed three minutes from the end. Fulham, who only arrested a run of five successive defeats by beating Portsmouth in midweek, were happy to take a point having travelled with a depleted squad that left the unheralded pairing of Erik Nevland and David Elm up front.
With Kagisho Dikgacoi also limping off in the second half, manager Roy Hodgson has little time to patch up his side before Tuesday’s clash with Burnley.
With just five points since Christmas, Fulham face a huge test with six more games this month, including an FA Cup tie against Notts County and a Europa Cup clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Hodgson said: “It is a difficult time and it is going to remain a difficult. We are victims of our own success.”
MATCH RATING: * – As dreary as they come. Bolton snuffed out Fulham in the second half but Johan Elmander should have won it for the Trotters, firing wide just before the Davies controversy.
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear) 3/10 – His decision to rule out Davies’s header was inexplicable. As Bolton boss Owen Coyle said: “Everybody in the stadium knew it was a good goal.”