Well done my son: Owen Coyle congratulates Daniel Sturridge after his late goal
With the scores goalless heading into the last 60 seconds of injury-time, a woeful backpass from Ronald Zubar gave Bolton debutant Daniel Sturridge the simple task of netting the winner.
A disconsolate McCarthy said: 'I don't really know what I can say after that, I feel lousy and I feel robbed. We had a point in our pocket but we gave it away.
'I think everyone had settled for a draw and there had been a few chances at either end and I was quite pleased with the potential point. I can't say anything to lift the players now.'
The result dropped Wolves to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table, two points behind West Ham, and, although McCarthy gave his backing to Zubar, he knows mistakes are costing his side dearly.
'I went and shook Zubar's hand to get his chin up and carry on playing,' he continued. "That is hard for all of us but that is what we have to do.
'He didn't mean to make a mistake but a mistake it was and we continue to make them. And if we keep doing it we will keep getting punished.
Nightmare error: Ronald Zubar
'He is one of our players and works his socks off like the rest of them do. So I will encourage him and I will support him. But it was self-inflicted, like it was self-inflicted at Fulham, Spurs, Manchester United, I could go on.'
Although Bolton had more of the chances, with Wayne Hennessey required to make three terrific saves, Wolves were not without their opportunities, chiefly Matt Jarvis' one-on-one with Jussi Jaaskelainen 10 minutes in that the winger failed to take advantage of.
'There were turning points in the game, one at the beginning and one at the end, and it's cost us,' added McCarthy, who also saw a Kevin Doyle shot deflected onto a post late on.
For Bolton, the three points brought to an end a run of one point from their last five games, and manager Owen Coyle hailed the composure of on-loan Chelsea striker Sturridge, who certainly made an impact after coming off the bench in the second half.
He said: 'I'm absolutely delighted. It's always nice after the event when you bring in a player who you believe can score goals and he pops up on his debut to do that.
'Mick will be disappointed because it's an error but to have that awareness as a striker, you can't give people that, that's something that's a natural instinct. The pace he got onto it and then the composure actually to slot it in, for such a young man was terrific.'
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