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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Promotion glory and a nine-goal thriller: The highs and lows from Ian Evatt's Bolton tenure so far

Promotion glory and a nine-goal thriller: The highs and lows from Ian Evatt's Bolton tenure so far

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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There have been plenty of highs since Ian Evatt took charge at Wanderers nearly two years ago, and a few low points too.

The Bolton News has compiled a list of some of the more memorable matches from Evatt’s Bolton tenure so far.

The highs

1. Crawley 1-4 Wanderers (May 2021) – Perhaps the biggest moment of Evatt’s managerial career to date, winning promotion to League One on the final day.

Antoni Sarcevic and Dapo Afolayan’s first-half goals settled the nerves before the hosts were reduced to 10 men when George Francomb was shown a second yellow card.

Eoin Doyle and Isgrove also got on the scoresheet on an occasion that deserved an away end packed with Bolton supporters, but sadly this was not the case due to the pandemic.

2. Wanderers 6-0 Sunderland (January 2022) – A game that will live long in the memory of the Bolton faithful.

Evatt’s men went in two goals ahead at the break thanks to Dion Charles and Afolayan, but few were expecting what would come next.

Charles, Kieran Lee and John were all on target as the visitors capitulated during the second half, which was summed up by a comical own goal from Danny Batth.

3. Oxford 2-3 Wanderers (February 2022) – Amadou Bakayoko scored a dramatic late winner as Evatt’s men earned a stunning win at play-off hopefuls Oxford.

The hosts had twice gone in front through Billy Bodin but the Whites hit back through wing-back pair Declan John and Marlon Fossey in an eventful opening 45 minutes.

But Bakayoko slotted home from close range four minutes from time, sending the away end at the Kassam Stadium into raptures.

4. Salford 0-1 Wanderers (April 2021) – Evatt’s men took a big step towards promotion from League Two thanks to a vital win at Salford.

Lloyd Isgrove got the only goal midway through the first half when his low cross evaded everyone and nestled in the bottom corner.

The result saw the Whites consolidate their place in the top three and become the first side to win at AJ Bell Stadium all season.

5. Ipswich 2-5 Wanderers (September 2021) – One of many memorable performances on the road from Evatt’s men this season.

Macauley Bonne put the hosts in front but Doyle’s penalty and an Afolayan brace saw the Whites lead 3-2 at the break.

Josh Sheehan added a fourth early in the second half before George Johnston wrapped up an emphatic victory at Portman Road.

6. Wanderers 1-0 Morecambe (April 2021) – Another big moment in the Whites’ push for promotion against a side who were only one point off the top three.

Evatt’s men were handed a major boost when Kelvin Mellor saw red for an off the ball incident with Afolayan.

They made the most of their man advantage and Ben Jackson scored the winner just moments before the break with a clinical strike.

7. Charlton 1-4 Wanderers (September 2021) – A successful trip to the capital as the Whites continued their strong start to life back in the third tier.

The hosts took an early lead through Josh Davison’s close-range volley but Evatt’s men hit back through Afolayan on the stroke of half time.

Wanderers turned on the style after the break, with Kieran Lee bagging a brace and Sarcevic adding a fourth in stoppage time.

8. Mansfield 2-3 Wanderers (February 2021) – Arguably the most remarkable win of Evatt’s Bolton tenure to date given his side were two goals down with 11 minutes to go.

Second-half goals from Ollie Clarke and Jamie Reid put the hosts in a strong position heading into the final stages but the Whites never know when they are beaten.

John and a Mal Benning own goal got Wanderers back on level terms before Arthur Gnahoua completed an unlikely comeback two minutes from time.

9. Forest Green 0-1 Wanderers (March 2021) – Another memorable away win which saw Evatt’s men close the gap to the top three and extend their unbeaten run to 13 matches.

Doyle got the decisive goal six minutes before the break, volleying home after some good work by Nathan Delfouneso on the right flank.

10. Morecambe 1-1 Wanderers (February 2022) – Far from a classic in awful conditions at the Mazuma Stadium, but Evatt’s men showed plenty of character.

Ricardo Santos was shown a controversial red card midway through the second half and it looked like it would be one of those days when Cole Stockton opened the scoring four minutes later.

The players were then taken off the pitch following allegations of racist abuse aimed at the Bolton bench but when play resumed, Bakayoko popped up with another late goal to rescue a point at the death.

The lows

1. Stockport 5-3 Wanderers AET (November 2021) – A night to forget as Evatt’s men were on the wrong end of a traditional FA Cup upset.

Elias Kachunga, Bakayoko and an Ash Palmer own goal gave the Whites a 3-1 lead and they seemed to be on course for a fairly straightforward victory.

But the hosts fought back and took the game to extra time, before Scott Quigley and Ollie Crankshaw got on the scoresheet to knock Evatt’s men out of the historic competition in the opening round.

2. Wanderers 0-4 Wigan (October 2021) – A day where everything seemed to go wrong as the Latics gained the bragging rights with a comfortable victory at the UniBol.

Will Keane’s early goal set the tone for what was to come, with James McClean bagging a brace and Callum Lang also on target.

The Whites were impacted by injuries but Evatt refused to make excuses and has since called the scoreline “embarrassing”.

3. Wanderers 3-6 Port Vale (December 2020) – Evatt has prided himself on playing attacking, entertaining football since taking charge at the UniBol but his side were on the wrong end of a nine-goal thriller on this occasion.

Goals from Gethin Jones, Doyle and Isgrove were not enough as the Whites conceded six goals at the UniBol for the first time.

4. Fleetwood 3-0 Wanderers (December 2021) – Stephen Crainey came out on top against former Blackpool team-mate Evatt to clinch his first win since taking charge of the Cod Army.

Ged Garner opened the scoring after just six minutes but things went from bad to worse after the break, when Santos was given his marching orders.

Harrison Baggins scored twice inside the final 15 minutes on a miserable night for the Bolton fans who made the short journey to the Highbury Stadium.

5. Leyton Orient 4-0 Wanderers (October 2020) – Another occasion where everything seemed to go wrong for Evatt’s men against clinical opposition.

Billy Crellin’s early penalty save to deny Danny Johnson was a warning sign and the forward did manage to get on the scoresheet eight minutes later.

Jobi McAnuff and Conor Wilkinson were also on target to give the hosts a commanding lead at the break, before Craig Clay added salt to the wounds just before the hour mark.

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