Evatt Hails 'Magnificent Effort'

Ian Evatt insists Wanderers can have a big second half of the season after their New Year’s Day return.

The Whites played their first game in three weeks following the COVID outbreak at the club at Rotherham.

Evatt’s men were unable to halt their losing away run as the Millers secured a 2-1 victory which took them back to the top of League One.

But despite a lack of match fitness, Wanderers more than matched the leaders and and were desperately close to matching Eoin Doyle’s first-half equaliser in a storming finish in front of a superb travelling support.

“I’m not going to say one negative about those boys,” said Evatt, who was still without key midfield men MJ Williams and Kieran Lee due to COVID which has affected 20 players and staff over the past couple of weeks.

“I know what they’ve been through and I know the condition they came back in.

“To play and perform like that. This is a tough place to come at the best of times when you’ve got a fully fit team and squad against a team top of the league.

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“The difference on the day was taking our chance again. We had two huge ones at the end but it was a magnificent effort.

“The players played to the game-plan the best they could in the condition they were in.”

Dapo Afolayan was inches away from claiming a dramatic point when he volleyed over the bar with the final kick after Michael Smith had headed in either side of Doyle’s eighth goal of the season.

Doyle’s strike just before half-time ended Wanderers’ long wait for an away goal and with extra firepower now on board following the 1 January signing of Dion Charles – not eligible to play but part of the travelling party to South Yorkshire – Evatt believes there remains plenty of room for optimism.

The Wanderers’ boss, who hopes to have Williams back in training ahead of Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy tie at Hartlepool United, added: “We’re half way through the season now.

“It’s obviously been hard work for the last two or three months but there’s lots and lots to look forward to for the second half of the season and lots to be positive about.

“When we get these boys back right and get the bodies in the building we’re trying to I genuinely believe we could fly again in the second half of the season and anything’s possible when we get on a run.

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“There are lots of points to play for and these boys are capable of something big.

“We’ve gone to Wycombe in this spell and come here in this spell and arguably deserved something out of the both games.

“There’s lots to be positive about and I must say the fans were absolutely brilliant.

“That’s how you back your team and that’s how you support your team. They really lifted the players, especially when they needed it in the second half when they were fatigued and tired.

“It was always going to be tough in the last 20 minutes but we finished the stronger, which is credit to the lads.

“I can’t explain the effort that took the players to perform like that after what they’ve been through.

“It was amazing. I’m just sorry we didn’t get the point we probably deserve.”

Watch the manager's post-match interview HERE

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