Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt admitted his side made hard work of beating Northampton on Saturday after a dominant first half display at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.
Evatt’s team came racing out of the traps and threatened to run riot after goals from Dion Charles and Randell Williams saw them cruise into a 2-0 lead with only 16 minutes on the clock.
Further chances came and went before Cobblers eventually steadied the ship and gained a foothold, and they might even have snatched a point during a more even second half, but Sam Hoskins’ header proved only a consolation.
“The most important thing today is a win,” said Evatt. “We won the game and we must not forget some of the great work in the first half.
“Some of our approach play in the first half was as good as I've seen and we have to stay true to that and consistent with that. We just didn't get that third goal that would have sealed and killed the game.
“Yes, the second half was a damp squib and a little bit disappointing, but they didn't really create too much and we know we can improve from that. We always somehow find a way to react to adversity and we found a way to win today, which is the most important thing.We needed to win the game, no doubt about that.
“I think in the first half we were outstanding for large periods but just when we smelt blood we didn't go in for the kill. We were guilty of losing a bit of tempo because we were having so much success.
“Momentum is a key word in football and 2-0, as we know, is always a funny scoreline when you don't finish the game off. It always feels a lot nervier than it should do.
“All the messages we gave at half time just went out of the window because in that second half that nervousness just spread right through the team. You could hear it and sense it everywhere, in the fans, in the players, us as staff. We kept turning the ball over, and it wasn’t just one or two players, it was everyone.
“They got a goal but other than the feel of us not managing the game the way we want to they didn't create anything else and it's an important three points. There are a lot of positives to take from that but there are some learnings as well."