Neil Lennon - Players showed great character

Manager pleased with his side's response to going a goal down at Eastleigh in difficult playing conditions

Neil Lennon praised the character of his Bolton Wanderers side, as they battled from a goal down late on to force a replay against Eastleigh in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.

On a difficult playing surface Darren Pratley scored four minutes from time to equalise, after Dorian Dervite had put through his own net to give the non-league side the lead.

And speaking after the match, the manager said that given the difficult playing conditions his side had done well to earn a replay, but that they must now finish the job at Macron Stadium.

“The players showed everything we wanted from them today,” the manager said after the match. “They showed great character during what was a difficult game for us.

“You have to give enormous credit to Eastleigh, who did ever so well. We knew they would, because today was their big day. 

“We had some concerns pre-match about the pitch and that proved to be a leveler. It was very heavy, particularly down both sides. We had to miss out the midfield at times, even more so early on with the wind against us.

“In the second half I felt that our fitness and athleticism told and we took control of the game, despite going a goal down.

“We had chance after chance and eventually got the goal we more than deserved.

“We had to withstand a few hairy moments at times and in these kinds of cup ties anything can happen. This was never going to be an easy tie to negotiate.

“I’m thankful that we now have another crack at getting into the fourth round with a replay at our place.

The manager also moved to clarify the reason for the absence of Mark Davies and Zach Clough.

“We lost both Mark and Zach in the run up to the game,” Lennon added. “Due to the financial restraints at the club, bids have been accepted on both players.

“It’s not ideal when you’re trying to prepare for a game, but at the end of the day this is the position we find ourselves in.”

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