Ian Evatt hails Bolton promotion as his ‘best experience in football’

Lloyd Isgrove celebrates with manager Ian Evatt
Lloyd Isgrove celebrates with manager Ian Evatt (PA Wire)
18:20pm, Sat 08 May 2021
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Ian Evatt was quick to admit that this was his best day in football after Bolton Wanderers clinched automatic promotion back to League One with a crushing 4-1 win at Crawley

Wanderers went into the game knowing that victory would guarantee them an immediate return, and they made no doubt about it with a dominant display.

Two goals in the first 26 minutes from Antoni Sarcevic and Dapo Afolayan put the Whites in charge, and Crawley had skipper George Francomb sent off for two bookable offences before half-time.

Top scorer Eoin Doyle and Lloyd Isgrove added further Bolton goals before substitute Davide Rodari grabbed his first Crawley goal to give the Reds a consolation.

For boss Evatt this was his second promotion in successive seasons, having taken Barrow into the Football League, and he said: “This is my best and biggest experience in football.

“I’ve played in the Premier League but this tops it all.

“I knew it was coming, it’s been coming all week.

“The players were hurting after losing to Exeter and from 9am on Monday morning they have really applied themselves. It feels like the best 90 minutes of the season.”

Evatt is determined for this to be the start of a Bolton revival, and added: “We have got to compete next season. Why can’t we have aspirations?

“This is just the start – it is one small step and there are plenty of steps to come.”

Crawley head coach John Yems admitted his men were “punching above their weight” for much of the season.

The Reds have finished 12th, one place higher than last term, and Yems said: “It’s been a good season.

“We sold a player for £1 million (Max Watters) and had a good cup run but we want to be higher.

“I felt we could have done a lot better but it is what it is.”

Yems hopes Crawley will be able to build on his first full season positively, and added: “At least we’ve not been looking at the trap door.

“But we want to win things. Seeing some of the teams that are below us shows how far we’ve come.”

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