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'We earned the luck at the end' - Ian Evatt reaction to 2-1 win against Oxford

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

'We earned the luck at the end' - Ian Evatt reaction to 2-1 win against Oxford 12924841

Ian Evatt felt Wanderers’ hard work to turn around a 1-0 deficit against Oxford United earned their late slice of good fortune at the UniBol.

Bolton were 2-1 up going into injury time when U’s striker Gavin Whyte missed a simple chance 10 yards out to level the game.

Earlier, Dapo Afolayan and Eoin Doyle had put the Whites into a winning position in what proved an eventful 90 minutes of League One football.

Matty Taylor had put Oxford ahead with a controversial effort but Evatt was happy with the way his team scrapped to get back into the contest.

“I thought there were two very good teams out there. After Tuesday and the energy it took to perform like that, Oxford were probably the worst opponents to play because they are all energy, power and forward running,” Evatt reflected after the final whistle.

“We’re disappointed with the first goal, it was clearly handball. But I am pleased with the way we galvanised and got ourselves back in the game.

“We weren’t quite as productive as we should have been, got into some great areas, especially in the full-back positions. Credit to us, Oxford changed for us and went to a diamond, so when you are facing that formation the space is wide and we recognised that pretty quickly.

“When we got the full-backs in the right areas we didn’t quite create the quality we needed. But I am very much one to judge us on our football prowess and how we play the game but today you can’t help but admire guts, determination and team spirit, and that is what got us over the line.

“I am a firm believer that hard work puts you where luck can find you. Our effort, determination and hard work earned us that bit of luck at the end.”

Doyle’s winner, on his 50th appearance for Wanderers, came from Josh Sheehan’s corner – a rarity in Bolton’s recent past.

“I am ticking some boxes, aren’t I?” Evatt smiled.

“The higher you go up the levels against these really competitive teams the game can get decided on a set play. Sam Hird has done some great work with the lads on set plays and identifying weaknesses. The lads have taken it on board and it won us the game today so I am delighted.”

Though Bolton moved into seventh spot with a win and preserved their unbeaten start to the 2021/22 campaign, Evatt believes there is still scope for improvement.

“Has it been a great week? No. We should have won at Wimbledon,” he said.

“We have had a really challenging and difficult start. MK have spent heavily in the summer, Wimbledon – it was their first game at Plough Lane in 30 years and started well, Barnsley have reached the Championship play-offs and then two play-off teams, so it has been pretty rough. But what we have done is carried momentum, this group is really together and I am proud of them.”


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