MIDDLESBROUGH went back to their old 2013 ways with a defeat at Bolton – but boss Tony Mowbray was furious with referee Darren Deadman.
Boro, in the middle of a run of matches against play-off hopefuls, had been buoyed by a midweek win over Nottingham Forest.
But a disputed penalty at the Reebok Arena and the sending off of skipper Jonathan Woodgate scuppered hopes of back to back victories.
And Mowbray, not normally a manager to criticise match officials, laid the blame fairly and squarely at the door of Mr Deadman.
Bolton opened the scoring in the second half through Chris Eagles, but Boro quickly replied as Kieron Dyer’s headed effort flew past Adam Bogdan.
Woodgate was sent off after giving away the penalty that Sordell netted to seal Bolton’s eighth straight home win.
Mowbray was unhappy with the referee’s performance after defeat officially ended their play-off challenge.
Former England centre-back Woodgate was adjudged to have taken down Chung-yong Lee for the penalty and was then given a second yellow card after aprofessional foul on Sordell.
“I thought we deserved more than that and we needed a better official to referee the game because there were some bewildering decisions out there,” Mowbray said.
“The penalty was one of them and the sending-off was certainly one of them.
“Bolton started well, which they always do but I thought we had a decent foothold in the game and then they got a goal through a cross which just drifted in.
“But that’s the way our luck has been going at the minute.
“I thought we were the better team but the history books will show that we lost.
“They won’t show that we conceded a lucky goal and then a penalty, which having seen half a dozen times was never a penalty kick, but that sums up the referee’s performance.”