John Mousinho was pleased with Portsmouth’s 1-1 draw at Bolton despite the leaders’ bid for promotion and the Sky Bet League One title put on hold.

Abu Kamara’s seventh-minute goal put the visitors in front, but Aaron Collins’ fifth goal in three games after 36 minutes ensured Pompey need a point against Barnsley at Fratton Park on Tuesday to reach the Championship.

“It keeps Bolton at arm’s length which was an important thing for us to do,” said manager Mousinho.

“We came here for the win and during the game we made substitutions to try and win it. I think though on balance, Bolton probably deserved to win it.

“I was displeased how we reacted to going a goal up. I thought we were poor.

“We made some poor decisions, slashed at a few clearances and didn’t do enough to track runners.

“It took Bolton equalising for us to click back into gear and decide we wanted to play and be more recognisable.

“We regrouped at half-time and it was a much better performance in the second half. Hopefully, now we can get the job done on Tuesday.

“There was talk in the week whether it was better to go and do it at Fratton. But we were desperate to try and get the job done here.

“Obviously we couldn’t, but going back to Fratton with the opportunity to do it in front of the long-suffering home fans and needing a point will be a fantastic occasion.”

Bolton have three games remaining, but need a slip up by Derby in order to gain automatic promotion.

Collins’ header from Nat Ogbeta’s cross after 36 minutes was his seventh since joining the club.

The Trotters could easily have become only the fifth side to beat Portsmouth this season.

Instead, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson missed an easy second-half chance, while substitute Dion Charles hit the post late on.

“It is frustrating but it hard to be too critical of the players,” said manager Ian Evatt.

“Portsmouth are top of the league for a reason and bar the first seven to 10 minutes where we conceded a poor goal in transition to their most dangerous player, I thought we dominated.

“We had opportunities to win, missed a couple of big opportunities and had 19 shots to their five.

“When you watch a game you get a feel for who is the most dominant team and then the data backs it up. That was the case.

“It was a good performance and we deserved more. Now we have to pick everyone up because we haven’t lost it.

“There can be turns left, right and centre. So, the most important for us is to win the game on Tuesday (at home to Shrewsbury) and get it back to a point (on Derby).

“But we have to pick the players up because they are disappointed. They know we should have won the game. But now is not the time to be feeling sorry for ourselves.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt gave an honest assessment following his side’s 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient in Sky Bet League One.

Promotion hopefuls Bolton, who started the match two points off the top of the table and with two matches in hand, should have taken the lead in the first half when leading scorer Dion Charles headed against a post.

However, the visitors paid the price when Dan Agyei netted the only goal of the game in the 54th minute, his third in as many matches, to give Orient the points.

Evatt, who was impressed with his team’s display in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay loss to Luton, said: “I’m very disappointed and I think we got what we deserved.

“They didn’t create lots but played the conditions better and showed more fight, more determination and a willingness to do the ugly side of the game better than we did.

“Some of our decision making and execution was baffling after Tuesday, when it was the opposite.

“I made five substitutions but I wish I could have made 11. If I could have made 11 changes then I would have.”

He continued: “I wasn’t happy with anybody. We made the wrong choices and showed the wrong body language.

“Very rarely am I disappointed with that group of players to the extent I am today.

“Having said all that we still had the best two chances in the game, which you cannot afford to miss. Both gilt edge, right in front of goal with no pressure and one on one. We saw that at Portsmouth and we saw that again today.”

In contrast, Orient assistant manager Matt Harrold was understandably upbeat after his team stretched their unbeaten league run to five matches, a run that includes four victories.

He said: “We’re really thrilled with the result. We’ve looked a really good team (in the) last six games.

“We need to stay aggressive and keep it going. We were really positive, it was a dominant performance despite them having the best two chances of the game.

“We had to stay patient with Dan Agyei having picked up the long-term injury pre-season but his return has been a massive boost for everyone.

“We need to keep him fit and he can go from strength to strength. He’s got that strength, power and unpredictability so we need him to keep going.

“Credit to the overall team though. We’re working hard and stopping the opposition from higher up the pitch, which means we’re not conceding too many chances.

“The big emphasis has been ‘let’s get back to what we are on the front foot, physical and aggressive’.

“There are a lot of games in February and March and the squad is going to be needed and we will attack each game as it comes.”

Luton boss Rob Edwards believes his side will benefit from facing Premier League opponents in the next round of the FA Cup after making life difficult for themselves before overcoming League One Bolton 2-1 in Tuesday night’s third round replay.

Having been held to a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road nine days ago, Luton fell behind to Dion Charles’ 11th minute strike at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

But Tahith Chong swiftly equalised before Chiedozie Ogbene’s second-half goal set up a tie against the winners of Wednesday’s replay between Everton and Crystal Palace.

Luton avoided the upset but Edwards admitted his side had let their standards drop when facing lower league opposition.

“Tonight was all about winning,” Edwards said. “We weren’t at our best. We were a little bit sloppy in too many moments and probably allowed them to build and grow in the game a little bit.

“Credit to them, there was a little bit of sloppiness but overall I’m very, very pleased that we’re through.”

“I think in a way it’s better for us to play a Premier League team in the next round, we know we’re going to have to be full tilt. We dropped in the last two games and we can’t do that, we’ll get punished.

“Bolton are a big, big football club. But when we’re favourites I think we’ve taken our foot off the gas in certain moments and we can’t do that. We’re not good enough to do that.”

Bolton, two points off the top of League One with three games in hand, played with confidence and had chances to retake the lead before Ogbene struck, while also having a second-half strike from Charles ruled out for offside.

“It was a difficult night,” Edwards added. “It’s cup football and it was never going to be easy. They’re playing very well, they’re used to winning.

“It’s a cold night, snowing, the recipe is there for an upset, or for us to go out. I’m really pleased we found a way to equalise quickly.”

Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of Iain Purslow, the 71-year-old Bolton supporter who died after being taken ill during Saturday’s League One match against Cheltenham, which was abandoned midway through the first half.

“I’m proud of the club and I’m proud of my team,” Bolton manager Ian Evatt said. “We wanted to pay him respect and to pay the family respect.

“It’s not about how we feel. It’s all about the family and their feelings. Hopefully now they get the time to mourn. We’ve paid our respects and I think they just need peace and quiet to come to terms with a really sad loss.

“I thought we started the game very fast and very well and got ourselves in front. Against Premier League opposition if you make mistakes you get punished and we made a couple tonight and they were punished. We would have liked to be in the lead a little bit longer and to stabilise it.

“In the second half I thought the team were outstanding for large spells and dominated against a very good team. I’ve watched a lot of Luton, they cause teams problems and tonight we caused them problems.

“It’s about trying to replicate that for the rest of the season and if we do that we’ll achieve our ambitions.”

Ian Evatt hailed Bolton’s “best victory of the season” as they saw off Fleetwood on a windswept night on the Lancashire coast.

Dion Charles and Victor Adeboyejo scored in the second half to leave Wanderers just two points behind League One leaders Portsmouth.

Evatt told Wanderers TV: “That was a proper performance, I’m so pleased with that.

“For me, the best victory of the season in the circumstances – the weather, the storm, the wind, the pitch was all against us really, but I thought we were just so professional.

“I think we dominated both halves really, with the wind and against it. Obviously disappointed not to score in the first half but stayed calm, stayed composed and did the business in the second half.”

Charles opened the scoring four minutes after half-time with his 12th goal of the league season and stepped over Kyle Dempsey’s pass for Adeboyejo to hammer in a late second.

“Great time to score,” said Evatt of the first goal. “I’m delighted for Dion, who I thought was excellent tonight, and then a bit of magic from Dion again with the ‘over’ for the second one for Victor.

“As away performances go, that’s a proper performance.”

Lee Johnson rued individual errors which meant an otherwise impressive battling display from his Fleetwood side went unrewarded.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “We knew the quality Bolton have – they’re a well established side in the division that’s had time to build, and an ex-Premier League club.

“But we felt, genuinely, at half-time that we had a good chance in this game. We defended ever so well in treacherous conditions, the spirit was good, the blocking was good.

“We’re not affecting boxes anywhere near enough, we know that, and we have to because wins are very important.

“You have to give credit to Bolton but again we’re masters of our own downfall with individual errors and that seems like the story of almost the calendar year. If we want to get out of trouble, they’re the bits we have to stop.

“We had 15 players, for various reasons, unavailable for this game and it’s difficult for a club like us.

“We’re not throwing the towel in, I’m well up for the fight. We’ve got 23 games now in which we need a number of wins.

“The first thing we’ve got to stop is the individual errors because there was a clean sheet in that game, and that’s what’s frustrating.”

Second-half goals from Dion Charles and Victor Adeboyejo gave Bolton a well-deserved 2-0 win at Fleetwood.

The visitors dominated throughout in atrocious conditions on the coast but had to wait until the 49th minute to lead, then seeing out the victory with little resistance and sealing it with a late goal from Adeboyejo.

Title challengers Bolton made all the running in the first half but failed to turn their dominance into goals.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson went closest as half-time loomed but his reaction finish from Charles’ cross cannoned back off the post at close range.

The Iceland striker had also been inches away from turning home when Fleetwood keeper Jay Lynch parried Randell Williams’ shot.

Bolton did have the ball in the net after 25 minutes, Charles sliding in a cross from Josh Dacres-Cogley, but the offside flag cut short their celebrations.

Fleetwood, second bottom and without a league win since early November, offered little going forward with a weak shot from Phoenix Patterson, easily collected by Nathan Baxter, their only effort on goal.

It took Wanderers just four minutes of the second half to finally edge ahead. The ball fell to Charles in the Town box and his shot took a cruel deflection off Josh Earl, wrong-footing Lynch.

Substitute Adeboyejo doubled Bolton’s lead after 83 minutes. Charles stepped over Kyle Dempsey’s pass and Adeboyejo, who hit a hat-trick in their home win against Fleetwood in August, duly hammered in the second.

Relieved Ian Evatt hailed the importance of getting over the line after sealing his 100th victory as Bolton boss against Leyton Orient.

Bolton were 3-0 up inside 10 minutes, but they were a couple of stoppage-time blocked shots from allowing Orient to claim the unlikeliest of points.

“It didn’t matter how we won, we had to win,” said Evatt, who had been marooned on 99 wins after back-to-back losses to Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers.

“All of a sudden, you lose two games and you are the worst team in the league and everything is chaos.

“But at the end of the season all you see is three points. That is all the matters.

Evatt added: “It is one of those games people can pick holes, but the win was the important thing.

“It is amazing how quickly you lose confidence from negative results and I felt there were some nerves in the second half.

“The first half we were scintillating at times and when Dion (Charles) missed his chance before half-time, no one could imagine the effect that could have on the game.

“In the second half we didn’t react to their changes. They went direct and aggressive, but the boys dug deep and found a way to win.”

Josh Dacres-Cogley put Bolton ahead after two minutes before Dion Charles seized on a Jordan Brown mistake to register his 16th goal of the campaign. The Northern Ireland international then played in George Thomason to score at the second attempt.

But goals inside five second-half minutes from Shaq Forde and Theo Archibald put the result in doubt until the final whistle.

“It is a tough place to come, it’s even tougher when you are 3-0 down after 10 minutes,” said Orient boss Richie Wellens.

“The first 10 minutes we were awful. Some of the young lads were like rabbits in the headlights. Then we recovered well.

“The last 25 minutes of the first half we were the better team. In the second half, it was all one-way traffic.

“If we get a goal with six or seven minutes left, I thought they were done. But credit them for holding on.

“We are a club that is trying to get to where Bolton are. Bolton should never be a League One club.

“But we can’t start like that. I would love to be their manager. With that squad, I win the league. But we are where we are.

“Our supporters need to be patient and go through the process. We have to respect they are a really good side with good players that have been built over two or three years.”

Bolton replaced Portsmouth as Sky Bet League One leaders, with top scorer Dion Charles scoring twice to help thrash struggling Exeter 7-0 at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Grecians boss Gary Caldwell went into the contest boosted by backing from club directors and owners, but in-form Wanderers handed the Scot a reality check with an eighth successive win in all competitions – their biggest of the campaign.

Ian Evatt’s side laboured for 34 minutes to break the deadlock against the early-season leaders of the third tier.

But when Jack Iredale headed in from Charles’ cross, the outcome was never in doubt.

Striker Victor Adeboyejo doubled Bolton’s lead before half-time, netting for the first time in two months.

Caldwell used defender Cheick Diabate as a striker but his services may have been better deployed in a more familiar position.

Paris Maghoma made it 3-0 after 55 minutes before Northern Ireland international Charles took over.

His 12th and 13th league goals of the season came 11 minutes apart while substitutes Kyle Dempsey and Dan Nlundulu completed the rout late on.

Michael O’Neill called Northern Ireland’s 2-0 win over Denmark a step in the right direction but knows his side remain a long way from the finished article.

In their final Group H fixture of a miserable campaign, O’Neill’s side finally beat someone other than minnows San Marino as second-half goals from Isaac Price and Dion Charles earned Northern Ireland their first competitive win over a team ranked above them since they beat Ukraine in June 2016.

It will not paper over the long list of issues facing O’Neill as he tries to rebuild his injury-ravaged squad, but it will provide a much-needed shot of belief and confidence at the end of a year which has seen supplies of both run low.

O’Neill has had to lean on several young players, more than he would have liked, whose introduction to international football has been a tough one, but a night like this can change the narrative.

“It’s totally different,” O’Neill said of the mood inside his dressing room. “You can see the young lads and you can see what it means to them. The ones who were involved in the previous campaign, I think they only won one game and this campaign we’ve only won three.

“We’ve been challenged in this campaign so they’ll take a lot from tonight.

“It’s a good result against a good team but that’s all it is. Hopefully they’ll come back in March with added confidence and belief, regardless of who the opposition are…

“I’m not getting carried away. It’s a step in the right direction and we have to take more steps in the right direction.”

Northern Ireland started well, with Dion Charles hitting the post eight minutes in before Eoin Toal headed wide.

Gradually Denmark, who have finished top of Euro 2024 qualifying Group H despite the loss, grew into the game but Conor Hazard, at fault for Finland’s second goal in Friday’s 4-0 defeat, made two fine saves before half-time to keep the scores level, and the game changed after the break.

Jamal Lewis, having one of his best nights in a Northern Ireland shirt, started the move that led to the first, moving the ball inside via Dion Charles and Shea Charles for Price to rifle in his second international goal.

Then Conor McMenamin came off the bench to send in the low ball that Dion Charles swept home.

After a long and difficult campaign in which Northern Ireland suffered five 1-0 defeats and failed to score in six of their 10 games, it was a welcome moment.

“It’s a very difficult campaign to judge,” O’Neill said. “To be competitive in any campaign we will need a consistency of selection, there’s no getting away from that.

“When we came into this campaign we felt we were going to have a different team and that we would have younger players around it who could energise the team and give us a lift if and when we needed it.

“We’ve ended up playing with a lot of those younger players more than we expected to but they’ve been terrific. Shea Charles has played nine out of 10 and was suspended for one, he’s barely missed a minute and his level of performance is top drawer.

“Isaac as well. I went to see Isaac in February playing in an under-20 game for Everton. I didn’t envisage he would be starting six or seven games, score two goals, playing in a variety of positions.

“These lads have gone through a massive transformation in their careers in the last eight months, never mind adapting to playing international football as well.”

Ian Evatt described his first FA Cup managerial success as “strange but nice” as Bolton hammered home the 48-place difference between the League One club and their National League visitors Solihull Moors.

Evatt had lost five times in the competition with Bolton and previously as boss of Barrow.

But the visitors, who had skipper Jamey Osborne sent off in injury time, were swamped by the third tier’s third-placed side who scored through Ricardo Santos, Paris Maghoma, Will Forrester and Dion Charles. Top scorer Charles also had a penalty saved by Tommy Simkin.

“I am delighted the monkey is off my back,” said a relieved Evatt. “I can have a cup of tea now and enjoy Match of the Day for once.

“The message to the players was we didn’t want to be headline news. We didn’t want to feel embarrassed, we wanted to show everyone what we can do.”

Evatt, who last enjoyed success in the competition as a Chesterfield player in 2016, added: “It has been annoying because It’s not as though I have deliberately changed the team and not taken it seriously.

“I am fortunate I have had a lot of success early on as a manager: two promotions, a cup win (Papa John’s Trophy) and play-offs. But this has been one box I have not ticked.

“People talk about ‘the league is our bread and butter’ – that’s just nonsense, the players want to play football and want to win.

“We want to win consistently and if that’s in the FA Cup we will take it seriously.

“This game was all about attitude. We spoke how this game would show me where they are as a group, what their mindset is like. They showed me they are in a good place.”

Moors manager Andy Whing, booked by referee Scott Simpson in stoppage time for protesting at Osborne’s dismissal, said: “Bolton are a very good team. I was really impressed with them.

“It’s not as though they constantly carved us open. We were better than we have been in the last two or three weeks in terms of creating more chances.

“However, I am gutted. I don’t like losing football matches whether it’s against a Premier League side or against Biggleswade. But I am proud of the players at the same time.

“It’s a game of football you want to win but Bolton are some team, with a fantastic manager and coaching staff. Hopefully they go up this season.

“I thought we created some great chances, especially at 2-0, but they were straight at the goalkeeper.”

Burton and Bolton had to settle for a point apiece as goals from Mark Helm and Dion Charles cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw at the Pirelli Stadium.

Helm put Burton ahead soon after half-time before Bolton, looking to get back to winning ways after their 4-0 home defeat to Wigan last time out, equalised through Charles just before the hour.

Albion had the clearest opening of the first half when winger Bobby Kamwa took advantage of some poor Bolton defending to run through and round goalkeeper Nathan Baxter only for his effort to hit the post.

Kamwa also fired wide from the edge of the box as Wanderers made a nervy start but the visitors grew into the game and both Randell Williams and Charles forced good saves from Max Crocombe in the Brewers goal.

The second half could not have started any better for Burton with Helm firing home a minute after the break when the Wanderers defence failed to deal with Kamwa’s cross.

However, Bolton were level just before the hour when Charles pounced on indecisive Burton defending on the edge of the box to score.

Crocombe made an outstanding save to deny former Burton striker Victor Adeboyejo as Bolton pushed for all three points but neither side could find a winner in a pulsating encounter.

Victor Adeboyejo netted a first-half hat-trick but strike partner Dion Charles and manager Ian Evatt were sent off as leaders Bolton beat Fleetwood 3-1 in League One.

The former Burton star became only the second Wanderers player in nine years to score a treble, firing the Trotters towards a third consecutive league victory.

Paris Maghoma claimed assists for his team-mate’s first two goals after three and 14 minutes, while a third right-wing cross from Josh Dacre-Cogley was also converted by Adeboyejo eight minutes from the interval.

Bolton’s win was soured by referee Tom Nield’s dismissal of Northern Ireland international Charles.

Last January, Nield mistakenly sent off Charles instead of then team-mate Elias Kachunga in Bolton’s win over Forest Green.

This time he booked Charles for a first-half stoppage-time foul and cautioned him again for clashing with ex-Wanderers’ keeper Jay Lynch in the 69th minute.

Five minutes later Evatt followed after protesting too vehemently over a Fleetwood challenge.

The 10-man eventually conceded their first goal of the campaign to Josh Earl’s stoppage-time consolation.

Dion Charles scored twice as Bolton Wanderers continued their impressive start to the season with a 3-0 win at Cheltenham Town.

All of the goals came during a one-sided first half at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

Charles’ opener arrived in the 15th minute after a clever ball from Victor Adeboyejo set him up to slot confidently past Luke Southwood.

Southwood dived to catch Randell Williams’ header two minutes later and Kyle Dempsey curled one just wide as Wanderers continued to dominate.

It was 2-0 after half an hour when a free-kick from Aaron Morley was whipped towards the near post and Liam Smith deflected it into his own net.

Charles added his second and Wanderers’ third with a fine curling finish in the 33rd minute, giving Southwood no chance.

Morley forced Southwood into another save 10 minutes into the second half before Cheltenham’s penalty appeals were waved away two minutes later when Rob Street went down in the box.

Lewis Freestone’s header from Liam Sercombe’s corner was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Nathan Baxter in the 79th minute and Street forced another save in the final seconds, but Wanderers comfortably made it three wins from three in all competitions.

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