Ian Evatt praised the fans who made it a bumper Bank Holiday with Wanderers’ biggest home crowd since the club’s Premier League days.
An attendance of 25,428 – including just over 5,000 fans from Derby County – was the highest at the University of Bolton Stadium since May, 2012 when Wanderers last slipped out of the top flight.
They saw both sides secure a point in their battle for a top-six place as Ian Evatt’s men extended their unbeaten home record to five games in an entertaining 0-0 draw.
“In a cost-of-living crisis, for that many people to come out and support the club is superb,” said the Wanderers’ boss.
“If ever there was an occasion to signal the amount of progress this club been making it was today. It was a huge crowd and a huge occasion.
“The atmosphere was superb. I loved seeing the UniBol this full.
“The atmosphere we created was incredible and it was a proper game of football.
“We’re delighted to have both clubs on a sound footing again and credit to both sets of owners for that.
“It just shows what can be created when you’ve got an atmosphere and a stadium full like this.”
Both Wanderers and Derby have had to come back from the brink in recent years.
And there was nothing to separate the two sides in a fiercely competitive contest, which Evatt felt his side had just shaded against a team now unbeaten in nine League One games to remain a point and a place better off than the Rams in fifth spot in the table.
“It was intense and it was quick. It was played at such a fast tempo you’d could see that both teams had been performing and functioning really well,” he added.
“I just felt at times we didn’t show the composure that was needed, which is understandable given the magnitude of the game and the occasion and what it means for both teams.
“When we did do that and linked passes we looked a real threat.
“These games are about moments and I thought we had the better moments.
“We had a real big chance with Dion (Charles) just after half time and you have to win those moments to win these games.
“And we always create a chance late on. Kacha had it – although it probably wasn’t a good chance. It was really good technique and a yard either side probably goes in.
“But I’ll view that as a point gained. The pleasing thing for me is if you can’t win you don’t lose and we looked really solid back there.
“If you can’t win these big games then you certainly can’t lose them because there’s almost a six-point swing if you do.
“I thought we edged it but now it’s about re-grouping and getting ready for Lincoln on Friday night.”