Ian Evatt believes Bolton need a “miracle” to gain automatic promotion after being held to a 2-2 Sky Bet League One draw by lowly Shrewsbury.

Wanderers twice came from behind to earn a point thanks to Paris Maghoma’s 71st-minute equaliser.

However, the Trotters are three points behind second-placed Derby with both sides having two games left but with the Rams boasting a superior goal difference.

“It is not over,” sighed Evatt. “But it is five football matches in our eyes now.

“If a miracle happens then so be it. But it is five matches to win and this team is more than capable of that.

“If we can do it at Wembley (in the play-offs), people will enjoy themselves. The time to analyse what has happened and gone wrong isn’t now.

“For now we just focus on winning five more games. It is possible (to gain automatic promotion) but we have to be realistic.

“Derby have a fantastic chance of sealing the deal on Saturday.

“Our general performance was good but we conceded sloppy goals at one end and didn’t take our chances at the other.

“There is frustration and disappointment for a number of reasons. It is a game we should have won.

“But we have said that too many times where we have lost key personnel which makes a difference.”

Shrewsbury are still not safe from relegation but shrugged off their worries to cause Wanderers problems, particularly in the first half.

Dan Udoh fired Town in front after 21 minutes, only for veteran striker Cameron Jerome’s first goal for Bolton to level four minutes from half-time.

Jordan Shipley restored Town’s lead with a stunning low left-footed drive two minutes later.

Ex-Shrewsbury loanee Nat Ogbeta missed a great chance to equalise early in the second half before Maghoma eventually saved face for the home side.

“Although we were ahead twice, it would be a bit greedy to not be pleased with the point,” said Town manager Paul Hurst.

“I am delighted with the players’ commitment to what we asked them to do.

“We knew we would have long spells without the ball. Bolton are an excellent team in possession and cause you lots of problems.

“The way we set up is one thing but the players have to carry that out.

“At the same time, certainly first half, we also carried a threat and caused them problems and caused anxiety within the stadium which is again what we spoke about.

“A point is a great result but we want to try and go to Charlton and see if we can take care of our business then it is over.

“If we don’t get something, we still don’t know our fate.”

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho saluted two-goal Colby Bishop as the league leaders moved to the brink of sealing promotion with a 3-1 win at home to Shrewsbury.

Top-scorer Bishop took his tally for the season to 20 to give Pompey the chance to secure a return to the Championship after a 12-year absence at Bolton next weekend.

Mousinho: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Colby to get 20 goals in successive seasons. He hasn’t played every game, so what he has achieved is brilliant.

“The result is the most important thing but the performance is important as well.

“With Peterborough and Derby not playing today, it gave us a chance to push on and extend the lead at the top. It wasn’t in spectacular fashion but we got the job done.

“I don’t think we played particularly well to be honest. We started well by getting the early goal but we became sloppy. We were slightly better in the second half but I think we were a bit jaded from Tuesday’s game. It was a difficult game to bounce back from.

“If you would have offered me a win having not played well, I would have taken it.”

Pompey took the lead after only three minutes when Conor Shaughnessy crossed from the left and Shrews skipper Chey Dunkley could only put the ball into his own net.

Shrewsbury levelled after 29 minutes when a break on the left saw the ball reach an unmarked Jordan Shipley in the box and he easily beat home goalkeeper Will Norris.

Pompey regained the lead three minutes before half time from the penalty spot after clever play by Kusini Yengi resulted in him being brought down and Bishop converted.

Shrewsbury played the second half with more purpose but Pompey finished the job off with 14 minutes remaining when Bishop slammed home from 10 yards.

Shrews boss Paul Hurst said: “To get a result, you must put your chances away.

“We had a game plan, which after three minutes we were thinking ‘do we tear it up’, but we had to make sure that we didn’t concede again.

“There was always the thought that we were going to be blown away but they didn’t perhaps play as they wanted to.

“I genuinely thought we would get something from the game but a soft penalty for them saw us going in at half time a goal down instead of level.

“The penalty was a terrible decision. If that had been at the other end, it wouldn’t have been given, trust me. An experienced referee got it wrong. It was an easy decision for him to make.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell was delighted after his side secured a 3-0 victory over Shrewsbury to move 10 points clear of the League One relegation zone.

Shrewsbury were dealt a blow in the seventh minute when referee David Rock showed a red card to winger Jordan Shipley for a two-footed challenge on Ryan Woods.

And the Grecians took full advantage with Will Aimson, Luke Harris and Jack Aitchison all scoring before half-time to secure a first win in six games.

Grecians boss Caldwell said: “I was delighted. The red card changed the game, and it actually made it harder in some respects.

“In terms of how deep Shrewsbury then sat in, it could have potentially been a really long night.

“When we created opportunities, we were ruthless with our finishing, and our goals were fantastic.

“I thought, in the second half again, we could be a bit better in our final third play, take a bit more risk, and create more opportunities.

“The size of the game and where we both are in the league, I can’t be happier about what the players did and the result.

“When we went into tight areas and played intricate football in and around the box I thought we played we were very good.

“I just said to the players there is eight games to go they are all massive games and we want to win as many points as we can.”

Shrewsbury are three points worse off than Exeter following their third defeat in four outings.

Boss Paul Hurst was furious with the decision to send off Shipley.

“I can’t say what I really think,” Hurst said.

“I think we may as well stop playing football if that’s a red card.

“I am not saying it’s not a red card for Woods at all – but if anything, he is the one that ends up higher on Shipley.

“When the referee blew up, I thought he gave a free-kick to us. And my gut from the side is that honestly – and admittedly, I was a distance away – but it was Woods who was slightly late on it, and Shipley got there first.

“Then for the red card I was genuinely thinking it was for their player and for it to turn out for Jordan was baffling.

“It spoils the night for everyone and at 10 men we need to give it a go. But like I said they are good in possession and that is the type of team you don’t want to go down to 10 men to.”

Exeter secured their first win in six League One games with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Shrewsbury.

Referee David Rock showed a red card to Shrewsbury winger Jordan Shipley for a two-footed challenge on Ryan Woods in the sixth minute.

And the Grecians took full advantage with Will Aimson, Luke Harris and Jack Aitchison all scoring before half-time.

Exeter’s Reece Cole was played through in the 33rd minute but his goalbound effort was blocked for a corner.

From the resultant set piece, Aimson put the Grecians ahead by flicking in at the near post.

Exeter doubled their advantage in the 41st minute. Aitchison drilled a cross into Harris in the middle of the box and after Marko Marosi parried away the midfielder’s first attempt, he reacted quickly and fired home from close range.

Aitchison was in the thick of the action again in the fifth minute of first-half added time and the forward hit a fantastic strike from just inside the box which rippled the back of the net.

Shrewsbury substitute Aiden O’Brien went through one-on-one with Viljami Sinisalo with just over 10 minutes remaining, but the goalkeeper parried it clear as the visitors completed a comprehensive victory.

Darren Ferguson praised his players and staff after Peterborough battled back to beat struggling Shrewsbury.

Sky Bet League One’s lowest scorers led the division’s highest scorers at the break thanks to Jordan Shipley’s strike in the 41st minute of a game which went ahead after a second pitch inspection.

But it was a different story in the second half, with Joel Randall tapping in at the end of a fine 51st-minute move to drag Posh level before Josh Knight headed in a Harrison Burrows corner to complete the turnaround in the 68th minute.

Randall struck a post in stoppage time, but Posh had done enough to retain second spot, while a sixth defeat in their last seven league outings sent Shrewsbury sliding towards the drop zone.

Ferguson said: “I’m really proud of the players – this is as important a win as we’ve had all season.

“I’m sure people looked at our form, their form and had it down as a home banker, but it’s never that easy.

“The worst thing was conceding a really soft goal which gave Shrewsbury something to hang onto.

“It was the sort of game where we just had to find a way and we did it.

“Joel was the best player on the pitch in the second half and got us level.

“We’ve got an excellent coach in Dale Tonge who works really hard on set pieces and it was great to see a corner come off.

“The ground staff did a brilliant job to get the game on with the weather we’ve had.

“I’ve had it before where so much effort has gone in and then we’ve lost the game.

“That was in the back of my mind, but we came through it with a win.”

Shrews boss Matt Taylor said: “I thought we were excellent in the first half and probably edged it. Away at Peterborough, that’s never easy to do.

“We had some good moments and Jordan took his chance really well, but we spoke at half-time about how the first-half performance meant nothing.

“I can understand and accept the first goal Peterborough scored as it was a moment of quality which you’re always going to get playing against a team who are likely to get promoted.

“But to be stood here having lost a game of football due to conceding from a set play, is unacceptable.

“We spend a lot of time working on them. If you are given a role you have to do it, but we didn’t do that today.

“I should be talking about a good point gained, but instead it’s about not getting the result we want and that’s disappointing.

“I felt the performance was good, but the result isn’t.”

Promotion-chasing Peterborough produced a second-half turnaround to sink Shrewsbury 2-1.

A shock was on the cards at half-time as League One’s lowest scorers led the highest scorers in the division courtesy of Jordan Shipley’s opener.

The Shrews midfielder struck with a fine 20-yard strike in the 41st minute after back-up goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne made a series of smart saves to keep out Posh.

Burgoyne’s terrific save to deny Ricky-Jade Jones one-on-one in the early stages was the pick of the bunch and even when he was beaten by an acrobatic Ephron Mason-Clark effort, defender Morgan Feeney was perfectly placed to head off the line.

Despite falling behind to Shipley’s strike, Posh refused to panic and roared back after the break.

Joel Randall provided a simple finish to a wonderfully-crafted leveller when tapping in a low Jadel Katongo cross in the 51st minute.

And the comeback was complete midway through the half when Josh Knight broke free to head in Harrison Burrows’ corner at the back post in the 68th minute.

Randall struck a post with a glorious chance in stoppage time, but Peterborough had done enough to claim the points.

Shrewsbury boss Matt Taylor praised his side for scoring three goals for the first time this season after a 3-2 win against Colchester in the first round of the FA Cup.

The U’s remained in contention throughout and made it a nervous watch at the end for the home fans after Zach Mitchell headed home in the 86th minute.

Jordan Shipley made a spectacular return to action for the Shrews, scoring a superb two-touch goal and assisting after two months out through injury.

Cameron McGeehan had opened the scoring for the visitors before Daniel Udoh levelled in the first half.

Shipley then put Shrewsbury in front before an own goal made it 3-1, with Mitchell getting one back late on.

Taylor said: “I felt we were for large periods of that game totally dominant. We conceded from their first attempt on goal.

“We started the game really well. What I liked is the players didn’t give in; they didn’t lose belief and kept going.

“We scored a really good goal to equalise. I spoke to the players at half-time, our decision-making in and around the opposition’s box I didn’t feel was at the level they can produce. So second half the challenge was to go out there and make better decisions.

“We did that, we should have scored more than the three. I think we had 17 shots but only hit the target six times, which when you look at it wasn’t probably good enough.

“The aim at the beginning of the day was to be in the hat for the next round of the cup, and ultimately we fulfilled that.

“I am pleased that we have scored three goals for the first time this season but disappointed in the second goal and the way we conceded it.”

U’s interim boss Matthew Etherington said: “It was pretty close in the end. I thought the boys rallied really well, albeit not starting the second half great.

“The changes that we made had an impact and we finished the stronger team, so overriding feeling is opportunity missed but I didn’t think there was a great deal in the game.

“The two goals we conceded in the second half were poor goals to concede, and it is kind of a common theme with this team at the minute. We have to stamp that out because we are scoring plenty at the same time.

“As I have said to the players, in terms of the energy, effort, and commitment, I can’t fault it; it’s outstanding, but we need to tidy up those areas.

“It was an unbelievable goal (Cameron McGeehan’s). The move leading up to that was a good move, and we know Cam has that quality. It was a great strike and finish.

“Overall, I thought we were competitive in the game against a League One side. I thought we were more than competitive and causing them problems.”

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