Bolton manager Ian Evatt praised Aaron Collins after the 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers.

Following a hat-trick against Reading on Easter Monday, Collins opened the scoring against Rovers, the club he left on February 1, with a 52nd-minute dinked finish.

Cameron Jerome won a penalty in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time to allow Aaron Morley to wrap up the victory and put Wanderers just a point off the League One automatic promotion spots.

“We lacked fluidity but we didn’t lack courage, desire and bravery – and it was a moment of real quality from Aaron which was exactly why we brought him in. A cool, calm finish,” explained Evatt.

“To be composed to lift it over the goalkeeper at that stage of the game with so much on the line for us was real quality and I’m pleased for him, with Cameron Jerome coming on in the final minutes to get us over the line.

“The most important thing was for us to win the game and we did that. We managed to be resolute. We dug in and did the hard yards at times. It was really difficult conditions out there, the wind really affected the game,” added Evatt, as Bolton won for the first time in seven away games.

Bristol Rovers were shut out for a sixth game in a row, having not scored since March 2.

However the Gas did play well and created enough chances to have taken something from the game, with Chris Martin’s stooping header clawed from off the goal-line, and Luke Thomas and Antony Evans both drawing good first-half saves from Nathan Baxter.

Rovers manager Matt Taylor pointed to his side’s inexperience, with no wins in Rovers’ last six games.

“It was harsh but yet another lesson learned in terms of the moment of the goals, it is just too poor from us in understanding what is needed at that moment,” he said.

“It’s young players involved and we know they make mistakes but we’re learning the hard way at the moment.

“I’ve got to be careful. That’s what happens when the inexperience factor is there.

“Too many times we’re defensively sound as a team and then suddenly we’re behind and chasing a game.”

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.”

Ian Evatt reckons Bolton can achieve promotion from Sky Bet League One provided they can replicate the performance of their 5-0 demolition against shell-shocked Oxford.

Josh Dacres-Cogley scored on his 28th birthday with further goals coming from Nathaniel Ogbeta, George Thomason, Aaron Collins and Josh Sheehan.

“If we can replicate that eight more times we won’t have too much to worry about,” said Evatt as Bolton stay hard on the heels of the top two – Portsmouth and Derby.

“That is what I want my team to look like,” added Evatt. “When they play like that, it makes me a proud manager.

“Everyone knows we are capable of that performance, we have got to do it more and more.

“We have been asked a lot of questions and it is up to us to come up with the answers. And the players know if they dip below those standards I will tell them.”

Ogbeta set Bolton on the way to victory with a sweet 19th-minute strike from Thomason’s pass.

Dacres-Cogley was gifted a present of his celebratory goal. Goaleeper Jamie Cumming and defender Greg Leigh collided attempting to deal with a long ball from Ricardo Santos and the full-back fired into an empty net.

Thomason’s long-range strike took a deflection past Cumming, but there was no mistaken identity as Collins finished off a flowing passing move to make it 4-0 and register Bolton’s 100th goal of the season in all competitions.

Man of the match Sheehan curled in a superb fifth goal after 69 minutes.

“We don’t score tap ins or scruffy goals,” said Evatt. “I am so proud of the players.

“Our focus in and out of possession was great and we looked sharp with the ball. When this team is at its fluid best we are a good team to watch.”

Oxford boss Des Buckingham admitted the result was a “difficult one to take” as they suffered a third defeat in their last four games.

“It is not something I saw coming,” Buckingham admitted. “Bolton played extremely well, but we played poorly and that’s the reality of it.

“We will get to the bottom of it. I don’t want to jump to things right now. I need to take the emotions out of the situation.

“The scoreline isn’t a true reflection of who we are and what we are. We will make sure we delve deep to ensure it does not happen again.

“If you get beaten anywhere 5-0, it is an embarrassment. It is difficult one to take, even more so because we were on TV trying to showcase what we do and how we do it and showcase Oxford across the country.

“We couldn’t do that across any area and we made it very easy for them at times.”

Bolton head coach Ian Evatt felt his side should have won at Barnsley after seeing them come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, with the equaliser coming deep into time added on.

Goals from John McAtee (25) and Donovan Pines (47) put the home side in control before Victor Adeboyejo pulled a goal back.

Randell Williams then levelled in the eighth minute of added time, following up to score after Josh Sheehan’s penalty was saved.

Evatt said: “I have some frustrations tonight because that’s a game we should have won.

“I think for the first 20/25 minutes, we were dominant and we started to build momentum and had one or two opportunities.

“We do a lot of diligent work on the opposition and their strategy and we knew we’d find it really tough to play our usual build-up because they’re really aggressive in the press.

“We knew they’d commit bodies forward and leave Aaron (Collins) and Victor two-for-two in huge space and we just had to put the ball into good areas with quality and we did that.

“The first (goal), we made a bad decision and played inside, we concede a goal, which completely rocks us. Then we lost our marbles for probably the next 15/20 minutes.

“We got into half-time and gave them the same messages again. And then we come out and we play another pass inside, when it should go into the space behind. It ends up in a corner and we end up 2-0 down.

“Great credit to the players that they’ve shown immense belief and character. We get the first one back and then it’s just a matter of time. We missed too many gilt-edged opportunities.

“They kept fighting, they kept believing and in the end they got at least what they deserved.”

Barnsley boss Neill Collins was disappointed to let a two-goal lead slip but refused to get too downhearted.

He said: “It’s disappointing because you’re 2-0 up and you’ve had a fantastic performance, probably to the 85th minute.

“And then really they came on top. We’re all really disappointed because we wanted to be celebrating three points and for large parts of the game, we probably deserved three points.

“We were up against a really good side. One they get the goal to go 2-1, you’re going to be under pressure. I think we could have handled it a little better.

“We’ve got to be really careful that we don’t feel disappointed too long because we’ve got 11 games left and we’re a point closer to where we need to be.

“I think we’ve got to take the positives as always and learn some harsh lessons as well.

“If we continue to improve, we’ll be there or thereabouts.”

Aaron Collins opened his Bolton goalscoring account but manager Ian Evatt believes the best is yet to come from the former Bristol Rovers star.

Collins’ 66th-minute strike sealed a 2-0 victory for promotion hunting Wanderers, bouncing back after successive defeats to Blackpool and Wigan.

George Thomason set Evatt’s side on the way to a badly needed win with his fifth of the campaign 10 minutes from the break.

“It was important for Aaron to get off the mark so I am pleased for him,” said Evatt.

“To come to a massive club with a large price tag for the level and the huge weight of expectation is sometimes a difficult thing to do.

“Aaron has moved away from home and living in and out of hotels can be tough. He needs time to settle down.

“In the second half we saw more of the Aaron Collins of what we are going to see in the future. He has real quality but we haven’t seen the best of him.”

Evatt finally managed a smile after a week he described as feeling “like a lifetime. It’s been a harsh few days but the players responded great.

“The only criticism is we want more reward for our good play and hard work.

“We deserved more goals and could have made it more comfortable for everyone. But the win is the most important thing.”

Thomason’s goal was his fifth of the season but he later took an unwanted piece of club history.

His 70th-minute challenge on James Brophy yielded a 17th yellow card of the campaign, one more than the record he previously shared with El Hadji Diouf.

Brophy went closest to equalising for otherwise-disappointing Cambridge just before the hour.

The miss was compounded when Collins turned in Paris Maghoma’s pass six minutes later and then had another effort kicked off the line.

“We did as much as we could,” said United interim boss Barry Corr. “You have to respect the opponent.

“They ask loads of questions of you and create overloads all over the pitch.

“In the first half we were pinned into a lower block and maybe became passive. But in terms of effort and application they were spot on.

“The better team won, however the result away to Bolton isn’t going to determine our season.”

Corr has been in temporary charge for three games since Neil Harris’s shock return to Millwall.

“The players need some stability and (a new manager) will definitely help them,” Corr added. “I would imagine it will be from Monday.”

Former Swansea and Leeds boss Garry Monk is the favourite to take over.

Aaron Collins scored his first goal for Bolton as they rejuvenated their automatic promotion hopes with a comfortable 2-0 Sky Bet League One win over Cambridge.

Collins had gone seven appearances since making his move from Bristol Rovers without breaking his duck until netting a 66h-minute match-clinching goal from Paris Maghoma’s assist.

The Welshman had another effort kicked off the line by Liam Bennett as Wanderers returned to winning ways after back-to-back losses at Blackpool and Wigan.

But Ian Evatt’s side never looked likely to suffer a third successive defeat.

Josh Dacres-Cogley crashed a Collins cross onto the bar after seven minutes and Jack Stevens saved from Dacres-Cogley and Ricardo Santos.

Midfielder George Thomason’s right-footed, 18-yard low drive and fifth goal of the campaign finally fired Bolton in front after 35 minutes.

Cambridge, beaten 2-1 when the teams met last month, went close to a 59th-minute equaliser as James Brophy fired narrowly over from Sullay Kaikai’s cross.

Instead, Collins doubled Bolton’s lead to keep the Trotters hard on the heels of top two Peterborough and Derby.

Ian Evatt insisted he was ‘baffled’ as to how Bolton did not pick up all three points at neighbours Wigan – let alone coming away from a feisty Sky Bet League One fixture with nothing.

Stephen Humphrys’ 69th-minute goal was enough to settle a stirring Lancashire derby at the DW Stadium, and see the Latics record a league double over their neighbours.

But while Wigan’s victory last August had been a 4-0 romp, this time Bolton had the upper hand for three-quarters of the game – without managing to translate that onto the scoreboard.

It left them wide open to a sucker punch which further dents their promotion hopes.

“We controlled it, it was one team trying to win and the other one trying to survive,” said Evatt.

“Football, as I have said before, is a really harsh industry.

“I am the first to say when we have not performed, and we performed. The only thing missing was the goal.

“We had chances and they just didn’t go in. Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.

“But there isn’t a man in the stadium that can honestly say that we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

The evening ended with the majority of players from either side involved in a melee that saw both managers having to get involved.

“We won’t accept one of their players celebrating in front of our supporters,” added Evatt. “Go and celebrate with your own fans, no issue with that, but not ours.

“You certainly shouldn’t be celebrating when you are mid-table.”

Opposite number Shaun Maloney countered: “I think their manager thought one of our players was over-celebrating in the far corner.

“But there’s no hard feelings on either side, these are just emotional moments.”

On his side’s victory, Maloney added: “We obviously had to defend for long periods. But I really liked some of the things we did in the first half with the ball, without creating a lot.

“Both teams were trying to play through each other, and I thought they were really good with the ball.

“I had to respect the players they have – I think they have a lot of good attacking players – and we tried to get pressure high up.

“At times it worked, and at times it didn’t work. But in that last 20 minutes or so, we had to defend and in fairness to the lads, I thought they were brilliant.

“It was tough, really tough out there and they really dug deep.

“It was a derby and in these types of games, particularly being at home, you give absolutely everything… every tackle, every header, you give it your all.

“In terms of tactical things, the fans aren’t going to worry… as long as they see their players giving their all, they’re happy – and they did.

“Trust me, I would have liked more of the ball but it was tough out there and we needed the fans, particularly near the end.

“Some of the lads were on their knees at the end and they take all the credit there, along with the fans.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt praised his patient match-winner Carlos Mendes Gomes after seeing his side dispatch Cambridge 2-1 and close in on the League One automatic-promotion places.

Mendes Gomes has had a stop-start season since joining the Trotters from Luton last summer, but found the net in the 63rd minute to secure the points for his side which took them level with second-placed Derby.

Cambridge had hit the front in the first half thanks to an Eoin Toal own goal, but Bolton levelled after the break through Paris Maghoma before Mendes Gomes volleyed the winner from Josh Sheehan’s fine pass.

Evatt said: “Carlos has had injuries and he’s had to wait for that moment, and he’s taken his chance superbly.

“We know he has the quality to do that – he can play a number of positions and can hurt teams in the final third – that’s why we chased him for four years before signing him.”

Overall Evatt was happy with how his side recovered after falling behind early on.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but the boys showed their character and resilience,” he said.

“It’s tough being at the top of the league – the pressure is on but we keep finding the right solutions.”

Cambridge were rewarded for a bright start in the ninth minute when Sullay Kaikai latched on to a loose pass from Maghoma and drove in a low cross which flicked off Toal and looped over goalkeeper Joel Coleman.

Kaikai then saw a shot parried by Coleman, while at the other end Jack Stevens denied Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and made a comfortable save from Nathan Ogbeta’s effort.

Bolton started the second half on the front foot, and equalised when a 52nd-minute corner was flicked on by Gethin Jones into the path of Maghoma, who touched home.

Eleven minutes later Sheehan was given time and space to pick out the run of Mendes Gomes, who caught the ball perfectly as it dropped over his shoulder to beat Stevens.

Cambridge should have equalised when substitute Jack Lankester shot wide from 12 yards in the 84th minute, and the night got worse for the U’s late on when Lyle Taylor was shown a red card for an off-the-ball clash with Bolton defender Jack Iredale.

United manager Neil Harris said he did not see the red-card incident, but was happy with his side’s efforts.

“I think we played really well in the first half, and finished the game strongly, but the 20 minutes at the start of the second half were disappointing,” he said.

“They’re the best possession-based team in the league and I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, but the disappointment is the equaliser; you can’t get beaten from a set-play so easily.”

Ian Evatt was seething for a second successive weekend despite Bolton battling back twice to deny opposite number Nathan Jones his first win as Charlton boss in a 3-3 draw.

Evatt was sent off and then later charged with allegedly using foul and abusive language during his team’s draw at Northampton last Saturday.

And he was livid once more as referee Ross Joyce did not stop play for a head injury to Josh Dacres-Cogley in the build-up to Daniel Kanu putting Charlton 3-2 ahead after 61 minutes.

Substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson rescued a point for promotion-chasing Bolton 19 minutes from time.

Victor Adeboyejo had put the home side 1-0 up but the Addicks led 2-1 at the break through Thierry Small’s first goal for the club on debut and Lloyd Jones.

Paris Maghoma scored a spectacular equaliser six minutes after the interval only for Kanu to cap a fine display with a low shot that went in off a post.

“He (Dacres-Cogley) landed on his head,” claimed Evatt. “He is clearly holding his head. He is down on the floor.

“We know the impact of head injuries and how serious they can be. At that point no-one could have known how serious it could be.

“The referee told me he (Dacres-Cogley) had sat up. But I have watched the footage back after the game and he didn’t at any stage.

“A few ricochets later it is in the back of the net. It is baffling considering what happened with their goalkeeper at the end.”

With Bolton pressing for a winner referee Joyce halted play to allow treatment to Charlton keeper Harry Isted.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is a goalkeeper or not; it’s not a head injury,” argued Evatt, who also claimed he heard “bad language” directed at the officials.

“It just feels like the world is going against us with decisions, with suspension and with injuries. We have lost four key members to our team.”

Charlton chief Jones was full of praise for his team’s point ahead of games against Bolton’s promotion rivals Portsmouth and Derby.

But he claimed not to have seen anything untoward before Kanu scored.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “Well done, that’s one thing he (Mr Joyce) gave us today.

“I didn’t see it. I thought it was a good goal.

“To come here and to score three against one of the best and arguably the best footballing side in the division and to be able to do what we did showed we are progressing.

“It was a positive performance, it was an energetic performance and at no point did we look to contain.”

Manager Ian Evatt admitted Bolton’s return to winning ways was not easy on the eye but described the 2-1 Sky Bet League One victory over Wycombe as “huge.”

Captain Gethin Jones headed the Trotters into a 32nd-minute lead and substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s added-time goal sealed a first win in four games in all competitions.

Luke Leahy’s penalty consolation for Wycombe came just before the final whistle.

Evatt whose side sit third but have games in hand on leaders Portsmouth and second-placed Derby, said: “It is a huge win but every one is a huge win now.

“It is not always going to be amazing, beautiful, and aesthetically pleasing. You have to find different ways to win matches.

“The team stood up to be counted and that point last Saturday (a 1-1 draw with 10 men at Northampton) looks a very good one.

“We have backed it up now and we have 16 more huge games to go. We are in a very strong position.

“If we take care of our own business no one can stop us and touch us, which is what we want.

“So, I am delighted to win. We did the hard yards really well.

He continued: “Wycombe have only lost once since Boxing Day and they are on a good run of form.

“They have reverted to type a little bit and ask you lots of questions. But we stood up to be counted, magnificently at times.

“In the first half we rode our luck and looked a bit fearful. But the second half was much better.

“We created one of two good opportunities and defended the box a lot better until the last kick of the game.”

Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield said: “We are frustrated not to take anything from the game because we created some good chances.

“We came up against a very good opponent and Ian Evatt has put a strong squad together. You can see with the amount of changes they can make and still be as strong as they are.

“But I am proud of the performance we put in. We came to go toe to toe and we did that.

“We just lacked a cutting edge in last third of the pitch. But we shouldn’t be negative on a night when we have played like we have.

“I am proud of the way the boys kept going. We rightfully got a goal because we had worked hard. It is nothing less than we deserved.

“It is just a shame it didn’t come five minutes earlier because had it done so we might have been able to get an equaliser.”

Ian Evatt spoke of the issues of forthcoming fixture congestion after Bolton’s game at Cambridge was abandoned.

Both head coaches agreed that referee David Rock made the correct decision in calling the game off after he consulted both Neil Harris and Evatt before leading the players off the pitch with only nine goalless minutes played.

The abandonment was confirmed 16 minutes later.

“I think we’ve got one Tuesday free until the end of the season, so that’s that gone,” Evatt said afterwards.

“It’s a challenge, it’s a test but there’s no way we could have played on that pitch.

“I think we’ve both got a free Tuesday two weeks from now, let’s just get it on as soon as we can.

“All I saw was what happened at Burton. The pitch was perfectly fine and then two hours later it was waterlogged.

“When I came I could see the level of the rainfall. It’s a really good pitch actually but when the pitches are as good as that it seemed to pool and waterlog really quickly.

“Once it started to pool it was only going to get worse.

“Both teams wanted to play tonight. The conditions suit probably one team more than the other, but that’s football.

“I think the referee made the right call.”

Cambridge boss Harris would have preferred the match to reach its conclusion.

He said: “From our perspective we wanted the game to be played because we thought the weather conditions sort of fell in our favour a little bit here against a really good football side.

“I understand the referee’s decision and the EFL’s decision and I’ve got no complaints about it. I just think it’s unfortunate. I thought it had the makings to be a really good game.

“I think you saw in the first nine minutes that was played, that there could have been goals at either end. I think one thing’s for sure, it wouldn’t have ended up 0-0.

“We could all see what was coming. You could see the ball just stop rolling. I think George Thomas ran past the ball at one stage because it had stopped.

“So you knew the moment was coming, you just hoped that the rain lays off a bit and the pitch has got time to recover.

“It’s not just the players, it’s the fans. How long do you wait while you leave the fans in the cold and wet?

“I’ve got no complaints with the decision. I’m disappointed, frustrated because we’re on a great run and I was really looking forward to the game.

“I thought the conditions tonight suited us to make it a real scrap. So I’m frustrated but accept it.”

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.”

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.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt hailed his side’s persistence after a last-gasp 1-0 win at 10-man Lincoln.

The resolute Imps looked to have held on for a hard-fought point after Danny Mandriou was sent off in the second half.

But Eoin Toal sent Evatt and the traveling Wanderers fans into scenes of jubilation with his dramatic 89th-minute winner.

“I thought we played so good,” said Evatt. “I thought we dominated from start to finish.

“We had moments we didn’t take, but we kept the belief and kept the faith.

“It shows you the value of set plays. It was easy to throw the ball in at that stage, but against 10 men it’s harder so we utilised the space around the edge and it worked.

“I wish I could bottle up that feeling because what a feeling that was in front of the away end.

“I was really pleased with the performance because I was delighted with the way we played.

“When you have the ball for so long and it’s wave after wave, it was just relentless and eventually we got what we deserved.”

The Trotters cut the gap with the top two after Portsmouth were stunned at Bristol Rovers and Peterborough were held to a late draw.

But Evatt, whose side are two points off Posh with a game in hand, stressed: “It’s getting tight at the top.

“Everyone spoke about the strength of the league, when you look at the pace the top five, six are setting and the points they’re stacking up, it’s large quantities of points.

“For us, we’re not even halfway through the season. There’s so much football to play.

“There’s no talk of this or that. We just focus on the next game. It’s really boring to say but that’s the way it has to be.”

Lincoln slipped to a second successive defeat and are four games without a win.

On Mandriou’s second sending off of the season, boss Michael Skubala said: “It’s a really tough one to take. We had 20 minutes with 10 men, the lads were digging deep and 89th minute, it’s hard to take.

“I thought we deserved something out of the game.

“The red card is a game-changing moment, there’s no doubt about that. I can’t stand here and say it’s not a game-changing moment.

“I don’t really want to talk about Danny if I’m honest, I want to talk about the warriors who for 20 minutes looked like they were going to get something out of the game.

“I thought they were brilliant to a man and we were so unlucky not to come away with something. Getting something out of that game would have been a proud performance from those 10 men.

“He will apologise. He knows. I don’t think it’s about Danny, these situations are about the other guys.

“I was really proud of the crowd, they were amazing. When we were under the cosh you could hear them and we will need that in the next few weeks and months as we’re depleted.”

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.”

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