Ian Evatt hails ‘huge’ win at Morecambe as Bolton edge closer to promotion
Bolton boss Ian Evatt described his side’s 1-0 victory over 10-man Morecambe as “huge’’ in the context of their battle for automatic promotion.
A goal from Ben Jackson in first-half stoppage time gave the Trotters the three points against their nearest rivals, who lost a man after just 24 minutes when Kelvin Mellor saw red for an off-the-ball incident with Oladapo Afolayan.
Evatt said: “The most important thing was the win, and the three points was huge for this football club. We should have won it a lot more comfortably than we did and I am frustrated that it wasn’t easier.
“We are not there yet and the job isn’t done, but it’s in our own hands and we took a big step today no doubt.
“We have two games to go, including a difficult game against Exeter at home next Saturday, and that is where our focus is now and we will give it everything we have got.
“Until it’s complete we won’t rest.’’
Morecambe manager Derek Adams was full of praise for his side for the way they battled to the end with 10 men.
He said: “Before the sending off we were the better team and controlling the match, but the sending off changed the game.
“Even though we lost a man and lost a couple of players to injury, we showed amazing application and restricted Bolton to very few chances and they won the game with a fabulous strike in first-half injury time.
“They only really threatened us on the breakaway and I thought we had the better chances in the second half and I thought the character our players showed was very good, but we just couldn’t get the goal we needed to get back into the game.
“We still have two games to go and we will give it our all and we will see where that takes us.”
Morecambe, who started the game one point behind the visitors, began the game the better, with skipper Sam Lavelle testing goalkeeper Matt Gilks with a header from a corner before the red card handed the visitors the advantage.
Jackson always looked Bolton’s biggest threat and forced Kyle Letheren into a diving save before scoring the crucial goal three minutes into stoppage time with a right-foot curler that found the bottom left-hand corner.
Bolton enjoyed the greater share of possession in the second half and went close with a Ricardo Santos header going just wide.
But it was Morecambe who had the better chances.
Stephen Hendrie curled an effort wide from the edge of the area before the Shrimps almost snatched a point at the death.
Liam McAlinden broke into the box and, after his shot was blocked, Toumani Diagouraga saw a close-range effort cleared off the line by Alex Baptise to give Bolton the three points.