Evatt | Resilience Warranted Penalty Shoot-Out

Evatt look Middlesbrough

Boss Ian Evatt felt Wanderers deserved to take their chance in a penalty shoot-out after being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by two injury-time strikes, writes Pete Oliver.

Evatt’s men were only minutes away from a shoot-out before Middlesbrough scored twice at the Toughsheet Community Stadium to secure a 3-1 win and a place in round three of the competition.

The Whites had led through Dion Charles’ fourth goal of the season and then defended superbly in the dying stages before substitutes Riley McGree and Morgan Rogers finally found a way through to end Wanderers’ hopes.

“For large spells we’ve give a really good account of ourselves against a very good team,” said Evatt.

“We’ve done incredibly well to hang on until the 90th minute, and it hurts losing so late but it’s a learning curve for us."
Ian Evatt

“I thought we deserved to go to penalties because of how resilient we were in the second half. I thought we defended the box really well but a moment of quality won it for them and that’s what you get against top players.

“I thought first half we were the better team and had good control for large spells. I thought they scored slightly against the run of play. We didn’t get that all important second and conceded a poor one in transition.

“In the second half, what happens when you don’t manage the ball is you’re out of possession for long periods and a bit like we do teams in our own division you eventually get fatigued and against the best teams – and they are a really good team – you get picked off.

“We’ve done incredibly well to hang on until the 90th minute, and it hurts losing so late but it’s a learning curve for us in that if you don’t have possession, and you don’t have the ball and make them work, then eventually they are going to get you – and they did that in the last few minutes.

“We showed great courage and great resilience and defended our box really well. To lose the game in 90-plus one and 90-plus four is disappointing.

Eoin Toal Middlesbrough

“But there are lots of positives to take and lots of lessons to be learned. There’s no feeling sorry for ourselves as we’ve got a huge game on Saturday that we need to be ready for and fully focused. It’s all systems go for that.”

Wanderers – who entertain Derby County at the weekend – made seven changes to their starting line-up, including a first appearance of the season for fit-again defender Eoin Toal, who was at the heart of Wanderers’ late rearguard action.

“He’s a really good player. His attitude and mindset is first-class. We’ve missed him and we’re really happy to have him back available and in the fold again,” added Evatt, who confirmed that the injury that kept out skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos is hopefully not long term.

“It’s positive. We’re unsure on timescales at the moment but what I will say is that it’s a lot better than it was on Saturday, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Less good news was a calf injury to goalkeeper Joel Coleman, who had to be replaced at half-time and which may mean a late dip into the transfer market ahead of Friday night’s deadline.

“We don’t really know the timescale of that yet but clearly with the window still open, if it’s going to be any length of time, we might have to utilise that to bring a keeper in,” said Evatt.

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