Bolton looked a fearful team against Stevenage – Ian Evatt

By Sports Desk March 29, 2024

Ian Evatt claimed his Bolton side looked fearful after a goalless draw at Stevenage left them six points adrift of the League One automatic promotion places.

Both sides had their chances to snatch a win, with Will Forrester smacking the crossbar for Wanderers in the first half and Boro’s Ben Thompson slipping late on when he looked set to punish Ricardo Santos’ sloppy pass.

The stalemate saw Wanderers slip further away from the automatic spots with six games remaining and Bolton manager Evatt was left concerned at how tentative his team were at Stevenage.

“We looked a fearful team,” he said.

“I thought we looked like we were afraid to lose and the type of team we want to be is fearless and forward-thinking.

“It had a feeling that it was ours to lose but at the minute it isn’t ours to lose, it is somebody else’s. There is no given right but it was an important point.”

As the season approaches its climax, Evatt is aware that the margin for error gets slimmer even though they have a game in hand on second-place Derby, with Reading next up on Monday.

He added: “These players are playing under huge pressure.

“We want to leave the excuses and go out and perform and it felt like we were petrified of giving something away.

“There is an opportunity and it is still wide open, we have to be the fearless team I want us to be.”

Stevenage forced Bolton into errors and Thompson had an opportunity to snatch victory after Jordan Roberts intercepted Santos’ pass, but the midfielder lost his footing as he shot.

The point meant that Stevenage’s winless run extended to six games, but Steve Evans is keen for his side to live in the moment as they fight Oxford and Lincoln for the last play-off spot.

Evans said: “We had the difficult game of the weekend. We had Bolton Wanderers. I thought Lincoln would win and they did, and I thought Oxford United would win at Shrewsbury (they drew).

“We head to the Valley and if someone said to me four weeks ago, four months ago, two years ago, Stevenage are going to go to Charlton on Easter Monday and are fighting for the play-offs in League One, it wouldn’t be thinkable.

“We are here on merit, we have good players. You can see how our club is run compared to other clubs in this league.

“So, from our point of view, we have a fantastic structure, we are in a fantastic place and we are really embracing every minute of this.”

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