EOIN DOYLE netted his 100th league goal in England as his double helped Bolton Wanderers claim a fifth successive win against Southend United.
The Irishman’s second-half brace - the first of which came from the penalty spot - sealed the victory for Ian Evatt’s men after Nathan Delfouneso broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time with his sixth goal of the campaign.
Wanderers cruised to victory without needing to hit fifth gear and although Matt Gilks made a couple of great saves, the hosts also had the luxury of having three ‘goals’ - all netted by Delfouneso - ruled out for offside.
The win puts Wanderers one point outside the play-off berths and just three away from the automatic promotion places.
The Wanderers Head Coach once again named an unchanged starting line-up at the University of Bolton Stadium.
His charges got off to a bright start and were unlucky not to take the lead after Delfouenso and Doyle linked up to put the ball into the path of Antoni Sarcevic. The Wanderers’ skipper, however, was unable to keep his shot on target as he charged into the box.
The hosts suffered an early blow when they lost the services of Tutte in the 12th minute through injury. Tom White came on in his place.
Ali Crawford fired wide after some great play involving Doyle and Delfouneso paved the way for the Scot to shoot.
A spell of excellent pressure from Wanderers earned them a corner after a stunning defence splitting pass by Ricardo Almeida Santos who brought the ball out of his own half. Unfortunately, the resulting corner evaded all the bodies in the box.
Terrell Egbri forced a fine save from Matt Gilks after Southend broke forward. Alex Baptiste was on hand to clear the rebound for a corner.
Gilks made another important stop, coming off his line, after Brandon Goodship got in front of the defence to shoot from point blank range. A real opportunity spurned by the visitors, but some excellent goalkeeping by the veteran stopper.
Delfouneso had the ball in the back of the net just before the break but his effort was ruled out by a linesman’s flag after he drifted off-side when Doyle put him through.
The big striker made no mistake to put his side in front right on the stroke of half-time with an emphatic header past Mark Oxley from a delightful cross by Baptiste.
Following the restart, Gilks was at full-stretch to keep out a Demetriou curled effort after Wanderers were unable to clear the danger fgrom Egbri’s right-sided delivery.
The lively Egbri shot high and wide shortly afterwards when he'd advanced down the field looking to grab an equaliser for Southend.
Doyle doubled Wanderers' lead on 64 minutes after picking himself up when he was felled by John White in the box. The Irishman sent Oxley the wrong way from the penalty spot for his fifth goal of the season.
The hosts were denied a third by the linesman’s flag moments later when Delfouneso guided in Kioso’s low cross from an offside position.
Evatt made his second change of the afternoon with 15 minutes remaining when he brough on Lloyd Isgrove for Crawford.
Doyle put the finishing touches on a wonderful three points for Wanderers as he steered the ball into an empty net following another splendid cross by Baptiste from the right-hand side.
Gilks made a diving save to keep out substitute Emile Acqah's header as the game headed towards full-time.
The victory was Wanderers’ fifth successive win in all competitions and the first time they have enjoyed a streak equal to it since March 2017.
Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Jones (Mascoll 86), Baptiste, Almeida Santos, Delaney, Kioso (Darcy 86), Sarcevic, (Comley 86), Crawford, (Isgrove 75) Doyle, Delfouneso, Tutte (White 12).
Subs Not Used: Crellin, Greenidge.
Southend United: Oxley, Bwomono, McCormack (Sterling 66), Hobson, Olayinka, Dieng, Goodship (Acquah 82), Egbri (Taylor 82), Demetriou, Kyprianou (Clifford 82), White.
Subs Not Used: Seaden, Phillips, Rush.