There was no happy return to Turf Moor for Owen Coyle last night as the Premier League club he left them for last winter were put out of the Carling Cup by the team who were relegated in his absence.
Wade Elliott fired Burnley into the lead right on half-time and the Bolton manager – given a hostile reception – came in for more jeers when he apparently questioned referee Mark Clattenburg's decision to allow the goal. But the officials had got it right, as the ball was over the line when Elliott's 45th-minute volley was pushed out by Adam Bogdan, one of eight Bolton changes under Coyle's cup policy of using fringe players.
Later the Scot explained he had spoken to the referee at half-time about what he claimed was a Chris Iwelumo handball in the build-up. "I wanted to be clear he hadn't seen it rather than just chose to ignore it," said Coyle. "I have seen the pictures. He clearly punched the ball. There was no disputing the ball was over the line [for the goal] – but I thought we were playing volleyball!"
As Coyle had taken his backroom team when he left in January, the fact that he included the Burnley old boy Robbie Blake in his starting line-up also had the home fans screaming for a step towards a repeat of their semi-final appearance of 2009.
The move of the match came after the interval when Rodrigo Moreno, making his Bolton debut, and Ivan Klasnic combined to send Tamir Cohen racing clear. But the Israeli shot lamely into the side netting.
But the boos failed to sour Coyle: "I will never have a negative word to say about this football club. For two years I was a hero. Now I am a villain."