Boss Ian Evatt welcomed a ‘near perfect’ night as Wanderers hit eight goals for the first time in 40 years to reach the knock-out stages of the EFL Trophy, writes Pete Oliver.
The rampant Whites matched the 8-1 win they last enjoyed against Walsall in an old Third Division fixture in September, 1983 as they scored four in each half against Manchester United’s under-21s.
There have been more testing victories in between but Evatt was happy to see his side advance in their defence of the Trophy on a night of key firsts.
Strikers Dan Nlundulu and Jon Dadi Boadvarsson both got their first goals of the season, as did Gethin Jones and Josh Sheehan as the midfielder matched Nlundulu’s brace.
And youngsters Nelson Khumbeni and Luke Matheson both came off the bench to hit the target late on as Wanderers stayed clear at the top of Group E with one game to go.
“Other than the goal against it was probably the perfect night,” said Evatt. “The quality of the goals was excellent. When we do put it all together, we look a really good team.
“People will say about the opposition, but that opposition beat Stockport (on penalties) and got to the latest stages of the Trophy last season, so you have to give them respect.
“We can only do what we do and beat what’s in front of us and I thought the energy and attitude was first class.
“It was a pleasing victory and ticked a lot of boxes; for Dan and Jon to get on the scoresheet, for the players to replicate the first half in the second half, for the young players to come on and score and young Sam (Inwood) to get on as well.
“At times this season, especially early on, when we’ve dominated the first half in particular in games and it’s been 3-0, we haven’t gone on with it. Tonight, we went on with it, which was good.”
After beating United’s youngsters 4-0 in the same competition en route to Wembley last season, Evatt’s men struck four times in each half this time to earn their place in recent club history.
Wanderers complete their group games at Stockport next month but face a run of important league games first, with three to come before the next international break.
“It’s nice but we know what our job is and our end goal. We know our focus and ambition this season,” added Evatt.
“We can kind of park this now. That’s us qualified so we can park it and concentrate on the league and this next week, which is going to be incredibly tough with the injury list we’ve got, the players playing with knocks and niggles.
“We just have to find a way to get results in these next three games and then the sun comes over the horizon and everyone should return from injury post the international break. For us now, it’s heads down and focus on trying to get three results.”
Watch the manager’s full post-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE