Goals from strikers Dion Charles and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson helped Bolton to a 2-0 win over Lincoln at the University of Bolton Stadium to record their fourth successive league win.
Charles scored from the penalty spot five minutes before half-time while Bodvarsson came off the bench to score with six minutes remaining.
It was a performance which delighted Wanderers boss Ian Evatt, who said: “It was a good performance but we have still got lots of hard work to do. There is so much improvement to come.
“We created quite a few chances but the last bit of detail and execution let us down. The defensive responsibility from one to 11 was first class.
“I have been so pleased with the way they have been training and it’s very challenging to pick a team at the moment. But the team is functioning really well.
“I think we were in control for the entire game. We probed a lot but at times just didn’t have that quality or execution. We missed some good chances but I was more pleased with the clean sheet to be honest.”
Bolton’s first goal came five minutes before half-time after Wanderers striker Elias Kachunga appeared to have his shirt pulled by Lincoln defender Adam Jackson but the referee, Neil Hair, waved away appeals for a penalty.
A few seconds later, Hair reversed his decision after communication with his assistants and pointed to the spot before showing Jackson a yellow card. Northern Ireland international Charles made no mistake from the spot, firing the ball to the left of Lincoln goalkeeper Carl Rushworth.
The Imps had won their last two games and they saw more of the ball at the start of the second half without creating a clear opportunity.
Bolton, though, made sure of all three points six minutes from the end when Bodvarsson, who had only been on the pitch for 11 minutes, placed the ball past Rushworth after being played in by Dapo Afolayan after the eventual goalscorer had intercepted a misdirected throw-in by Sean Roughan.
With time almost up, Bolton goalkeeper James Trafford made a superb save at close range from Matty Virtue after a teasing cross from Max Sanders in what was Lincoln’s best opportunity of the game.
Lincoln manager Mark Kennedy was disappointed with the result but pleased with his side’s performance.
He said: “I thought we made it really tough for them. Out of possession, we were excellent, especially in the second half. We really frustrated them. We came here with a game plan to hit them on the counter and, in the first 10 to 15 minutes, that was evident.
“I’ve just said to the boys that there were lots of positives. With a performance like that, there’s something to build on.”
Kennedy said he had no complaints about the penalty which was awarded after some deliberation, saying: “The bottom line was, however he (the referee) got there, it was a penalty.”
Kennedy was also quick to defend Roughan whose throw-in led to Bolton’s second goal, adding: “He’s a great guy who is having an outstanding season. The mistake that he’s made is not going to happen again in his life. I’ve told him to forget about it, it was an absolutely freak thing to happen.”
Bolton will look to extend their winning run when they go to Cheltenham on Tuesday while Lincoln are at home on Saturday against Charlton.
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