They were all convinced Kevin Davies's 88th-minute header that flew past Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with three points written all over it should have counted as he met Chung-Yong Lee's free kick.
As the referee whistled for a free kick and made a pushing gesture, the crowd howled their derision.
Ful stop: Keeper Mark Schwarzer punches clear from Johan Elmander
Coyle said: 'Everyone in the stadium, including the Fulham players, knew it was a goal. All except one man. The referee said Kevin pushed a defender with both hands. I'd better leave it at that. I knew at the time that there was no push.'
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson may have had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he said: 'I congratulate the referee on the strength of his decision. From the touchline, it was hard to make a judgment but I would expect Owen Coyle to say "we wuz robbed".'
The row surrounding the disallowed goal took away the memory of a truly poor match. On the Bolton bench, Jack Wilshere, a lad brought up on the finest Arsenal traditions, must have wondered why he had allowed himself to be transported to such a grim environment.
Coyle chose not to choose employ his loan talent, which condemned Wilshere to watching his new team labour haplessly against a negative Fulham side.
Close call: Johan Elmander fires a shot just past the post
Too many mistakes and not enough skill meant that any real atmosphere was difficult to establish. Bolton were prone to errors, while Fulham tip-toed about just waiting for something to happen.
The Londoners did not have their first scoring attempt until the 28th minute and then Kagisho Dikgacoi was two yards wide. Bolton were hardly any better, failing to test Schwarzer with anything other than limp headers from Kevin Davies and Sam Ricketts.
Perhaps Mark Davies, playing just behind his namesake, should have given the Bolton fans something to cheer about but he failed to make proper contact when bustling Fabrice Muamba fed him in.
He then suffered real frustration when, face to face with Schwarzer almost on the goal line, he hammered the ball at the goalkeeper's legs.
Lee had the ball at his feet inside the Fulham area but Schwarzer read him perfectly and whipped it away.
The crowd's anger at Mr Clattenburg was compounded when Schwarzer went down and required treatment. They could only resort to the unfair chant 'cheat'. Frustration was all around.
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