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MATCH REACTION: Ian Evatt has his say after 1-0 defeat at Derby

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

MATCH REACTION: Ian Evatt has his say after 1-0 defeat at Derby 17867397

Ian Evatt watched his Wanderers slip four points off the automatic promotion spots with seven games to go but roared: “It is not over!”

Beaten by a Kane Wilson header in the 78th minute of a tense top-of-the-table clash at Pride Park, the Bolton boss was quick to defend his players’ performance, insisting it deserved more on the day.

Wanderers had carved out the best chances but were left on their haunches when Callum Elder’s corner was bundled in by half-time sub Wilson, who had been a transfer target for Evatt last summer.

There are 21 points still on offer – but with leaders Portsmouth also winning at Peterborough, the Whites now face a stiff test trying to reel Derby back in for the final promotion spot.

“It is not over,” he said. “I am telling you it is not over. There is a lot of football to be played. We have to keep calm, keep belief.

“Nobody in this stadium could agree that Derby deserved to win that game. We were completely dominant. We had loads of control, it was just getting reward for that good play.

“I think it was the first time in the second half that they had the ball in our final third, the set play, and we conceded a poor goal. People have told me it might be handball, I have to see it back, but I am proud of the way the players played.

“We are process, performance driven. Obviously the result matters and it makes it more difficult for us but there is loads of football to be played. There is a long way to go. It is certainly not over.”

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was denied by a superb Joe Wildsmith save in the first half, and George Thomason had another effort pushed away shortly after half time.

“We had the better chances in the game,” Evatt said. “Jon probably should have scored first-half but it was a very good save. We had some opportunities second half too and there were some good saves from the keeper, who was probably their man of the match, so that says a lot.

“I think anyone here today would come away thinking we are a very good team. We haven’t come away with a result and it doesn’t feel fair but football isn’t fair, life isn’t fair sometimes, but the most important thing for us at the moment is to stay calm and keep believing.”

Wanderers have to wait until Good Friday for their next game, at Stevenage, but Evatt says they will use the international break to keep spirits high.

“We have got to lift ourselves, keep that belief, because if we keep performing like that I believe results will come. There are seven games to go and that can change in a heartbeat, “We are the chasers and everyone will think that it is done, but it is definitely not, I assure you. We will keep driving and get ready for the next game.”

Asked what they must improve to be on the right side of a tight game such as the one at Derby, the Bolton boss added: “It is hard to say what I am about to say because of the number of goals we have scored this season – more than 100 so far – but for all our dominance we need more reward. We need to stay more composed, take that extra second and pick the right pass.

“We have to score more often in the big moments. We had more than they did but they took the one that came to them.”


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