Ian Evatt insists Bolton will be promoted if they can replicate Oxford display

By Sports Desk March 12, 2024

Ian Evatt reckons Bolton can achieve promotion from Sky Bet League One provided they can replicate the performance of their 5-0 demolition against shell-shocked Oxford.

Josh Dacres-Cogley scored on his 28th birthday with further goals coming from Nathaniel Ogbeta, George Thomason, Aaron Collins and Josh Sheehan.

“If we can replicate that eight more times we won’t have too much to worry about,” said Evatt as Bolton stay hard on the heels of the top two – Portsmouth and Derby.

“That is what I want my team to look like,” added Evatt. “When they play like that, it makes me a proud manager.

“Everyone knows we are capable of that performance, we have got to do it more and more.

“We have been asked a lot of questions and it is up to us to come up with the answers. And the players know if they dip below those standards I will tell them.”

Ogbeta set Bolton on the way to victory with a sweet 19th-minute strike from Thomason’s pass.

Dacres-Cogley was gifted a present of his celebratory goal. Goaleeper Jamie Cumming and defender Greg Leigh collided attempting to deal with a long ball from Ricardo Santos and the full-back fired into an empty net.

Thomason’s long-range strike took a deflection past Cumming, but there was no mistaken identity as Collins finished off a flowing passing move to make it 4-0 and register Bolton’s 100th goal of the season in all competitions.

Man of the match Sheehan curled in a superb fifth goal after 69 minutes.

“We don’t score tap ins or scruffy goals,” said Evatt. “I am so proud of the players.

“Our focus in and out of possession was great and we looked sharp with the ball. When this team is at its fluid best we are a good team to watch.”

Oxford boss Des Buckingham admitted the result was a “difficult one to take” as they suffered a third defeat in their last four games.

“It is not something I saw coming,” Buckingham admitted. “Bolton played extremely well, but we played poorly and that’s the reality of it.

“We will get to the bottom of it. I don’t want to jump to things right now. I need to take the emotions out of the situation.

“The scoreline isn’t a true reflection of who we are and what we are. We will make sure we delve deep to ensure it does not happen again.

“If you get beaten anywhere 5-0, it is an embarrassment. It is difficult one to take, even more so because we were on TV trying to showcase what we do and how we do it and showcase Oxford across the country.

“We couldn’t do that across any area and we made it very easy for them at times.”

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