Ian Evatt pleased September is over as Bolton beat Harrogate to secure first win
Bolton boss Ian Evatt insisted he was always confident that his team would bounce back after equalling the club’s worst start to a season in 118 years.
Prior to Saturday’s 2-1 away triumph over Harrogate, the Trotters had lost their opening five games in all competitions – a tally only beaten in the club’s history by the seven racked up in 1902.
But goals from Eoin Doyle and Nathan Delfouneso rendered George Thomson’s reply a mere consolation for the hosts.
A pleased Evatt said: “We have been challenged mentally with our start to the season, but I was always confident that first win would come and I saw a different side to the players in the days building up to this game.
“They have been aggressive in training and it’s been good to see them annoyed and angry.
“We had to dig in and fight for these three points and the shift the players put in was magnificent. I thought our back three were excellent and dealt with everything Harrogate threw at them.
“We defended like men and, although we need to apologise for the start to the season, it’s only October and there are 42 league games to go.
“We’re glad to see the back of September and my sides don’t tend to start the season too well, but it usually comes down to a scrappy away win to start everything going.
“It was good to see both Eoin and Nathan on the scoresheet. They have had personal issues this week, which I don’t want to go into, but they both showed their mental strength as there is big expectation on their shoulders.”
Harrogate were only tasting defeat in a league game for the second time in 2020.
Manager Simon Weaver called on his team to show a more clinical streak in front of goal.
He said: “We created opportunities, but it came to either our delivery not being quite good enough or our clinical edge.
“I’m not too disappointed because we kept fighting, passed the ball, probed and caused them problems.
“Between the boxes, it was probably the best we’ve played since beating Southend 4-0 and we scored an excellent goal, but you also need to score scruffy goals.
“People need to find their sharpness in the final third to benefit from the good football behind them.
“At half-time, I thought we looked a bit despondent and I told them not to beat themselves up too much and we were better in the second half.”