Bolton Wanderers maintained their strong end to the League One season with victory in their final away game of the campaign against Cheltenham Town.
Kieran Sadlier put Wanderers in front after the break at the Jonny Rocks Stadium after great work from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
Dapo Afolayan won a penalty after going down under Lewis Freestone’s challenge but substitute Amadou Bakayoko made it clear he wanted to take the spot kick in discussions with the Wanderers top scorer.
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He converted in style with a low finish as Scott Flinders went the opposite direction, but the Robins set up a tense finish as Aaron Ramsey came off the bench to capitalize from James Trafford’s error and halve the deficit just before full-time.
Wanderers managed to see out the clash though to pick up the win, their third on the bounce, and extend an unbeaten run to seven matches. They remain 10th in the table and are now on 70 points.
After the game, Wanderers boss Ian Evatt spoke to the press and here’s his immediate reaction to the victory.
Three wins on the bounce…
“I thought we were outstanding second half in particular. I think we completely dominated and controlled the game.
“It looked like we could score, kept the ball really well and then Traff, a young goalkeeper, makes a crazy decision and then it gives us a couple of minutes of awkwardness, but overall I thought it was a very good away performance because Cheltenham are a good side, especially here. I was pleased with that.”
Talk us through the penalty situation?
“The most important thing is that we scored. That’s all that really matters, I thought Dapo was absolutely brilliant today. I thought their players targeted him, the manager at times targeted him, he won the penalty and obviously he wants to take it, but Baka’s in good form as well and providing we score, it doesn’t really matter.
“We see those types of discussions happen all the time and for me the most important thing is the team and the team won the game.”
Just for clarification, is that situation discussed before the game?
“Dion’s our penalty taker and he was off the pitch so unless I can bring Dion back on, someone else has to take it and that’s that. It’s the end of the discussion for me.”
You wanted a strong finish and it looks like you’re going to get one?
“We have got one game to go. We wanted to go on an unbeaten run and win games back-to-back, and I think that was the best of them. We want one more big performance at home now.
“Looking at the league table there is something riding on the game. They (Gillingham) will expect us to be professional and we will be, don’t worry about that.
“We want to win and we will be going all out to do that.”
Does any of this end of season run surprise you at all?
“What is most pleasing is that we have a lot of injuries and the team is still ultra-competitive, we still have options off the bench.
“We are pleased with where we are at. When we get this squad ready and get the players back then I think we will be a good team.
“We are still a work in progress and there is still plenty of room for improvement but I think everyone is getting excited. It’s head down now and get ready for a big summer.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.