Evatt: We Bought Into It Together

Ian Evatt praised the collective force of his players and the Wanderers’ fans as they combined to help secure a dramatic home win.

The Whites bounced back from a first loss in nine games at Derby County at the weekend with a gritty 1-0 victory over Forest Green Rovers.

They had to do it the hard way after losing top scorer Dion Charles to a red card incorrectly given to Wanderers’ top scorer after netting his 13th goal of the season.

Charles was a victim of mistaken identity after Elias Kachunga had seemingly committed a sending-off offence in the Forest Green box.

But Evatt was delighted with how Wanderers then stood firm against the division’s bottom club for over an hour with 10 men as the home fans urged them to a win that maintained the Whites' six-point cushion inside the League One play-off zone.  

“Sometimes in football you think you’ve seen it all. That’s something completely new for me,” admitted the Wanderers’ boss.

“I’m not defending Elias. He’s apologised to the group and we’ll deal with things internally. Hopefully (the red card for Charles) will be rectified.

“Mistakes happen. It was really important that we stayed calm, got through to half time and then were able to re-organise.

“I think everybody saw Pep (Guardiola)’s interview following the Tottenham game the other day when he spoke about fire and desire and everything else and that’s what the players showed in abundance.

“I’m super proud of them and the fans in the second half. It was just electric.

“I loved that atmosphere. Can we just recreate that as many times as possible?

“You don’t realise the impact that has on the players. It was huge.

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“We bought in to it altogether and the fans in the second half gave us a huge lift and that extra bit of energy to see it through.”

Wanderers had skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos and vice-captain Gethin Jones back in their starting line-up and the pair helped produce a seventh successive home clean sheet as the Whites defended superbly throughout the team.

And Wanderers also extended their unbeaten home run to nine games as they gave everything to grind out a ninth league win of the season at the University of Bolton Stadium.

“I said to them at half-time we should enjoy this and embrace this challenge. In-possession teams often get labelled soft. This group are not soft,” Evatt added.

“We’ve got an edge about us. We want to win at all costs and the fight and desire they showed in the second half was incredible.

“It was a superb defensive performance. We limited them to very little.

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“Sometimes it can be difficult playing against 10 men. We have found that out ourselves this season at times.

“But I’m really proud of the effort and commitment the players put in tonight.”

Wanderers will appeal Charles’ red card but could now lose Kachunga for three matches as their striking resources are further stretched.

Recent loan signing Dan Nlundulu could be missing for a fortnight with a hamstring injury and Evatt confirmed the intention to try and recruit a couple of new forwards before the January transfer window closes in a week’s time.

“We allowed Baka and Dapo to leave and at that point we had the rest of them fit,” Evatt said.

“Since then, we’ve had Jon’s injury, Dan’s now injured and Kacha is more than likely going to be suspended.

“I think myself and Mr Markham (Technical Performance Director Chris Markham) will be busy over the next few days to try get some strikers in the building.”

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