03 February 2024

Ian Evatt encourages Zac Ashworth to get in the box more after equalising goal

03 February 2024

Zac Ashworth heeded manager Ian Evatt’s interval words of wisdom to rescue a battling point for Bolton against their play-off rivals as they drew 1-1 with Barnsley.

Ashworth’s 64th-minute back-post header via new boy Aaron Collins’ first-touch assist cancelled out Devante Cole’s 17th goal of the campaign after five minutes.

“At half-time we had words that’s where Zac needed to be,” said Evatt of the West Brom loanee’s positional acumen.

“There had been some good balls flashed across the face to the back post where he was late arriving.

“When Zac does arrive at the right time he can score goals. That’s what we expect from our wing backs.”

Barnsley could and probably should have been out of sight before Ashworth netted for a second successive weekend.

Nathan Baxter made three superb saves before the hour notably smothering a close-range effort from Cole.

““On reflection it’s a positive point after going behind, considering what we have been through with the turbulence of the window, injuries, suspensions, players returning from injury and other playing with niggles,” added Evatt.

“In the first half we had large spells of control and dominance but conceded a poor set-piece goal that gave them a huge lift. But we wrestled back control of the game.”

Barnsley knocked Wanderers out of the League One play-off semi-finals last season and manager Neill Collins was disappointed not to leave with all three points.

“It says a lot about our performance that you go in the dressing room at the end and there was disappointment,” said Collins.

“We came here thinking we could win. Bolton are going to be very strong, with games in hand and they are going to be challenging for that top spot.

“But we have shown recently against Peterborough,, Oxford and Bolton – all away – that we are a match for everyone.

“We have got to show that same level of performance every game.

“The plan coming out second half was to get the second goal. We came out in the second half and created a barrel load of chances against a very good side.

“Had we scored one of those I think we would have gone on and won the game.

“When you are on top like that, you think ‘we need to get it now’ and it was disappointing we lost a goal to their first attack in the second half.

“We could have prevented it but I thought to a man we were very good. I believe if we perform like that between now and the end of the season we will put ourselves in a good spot.”

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