ADAM Le Fondre has the demeanour of someone who knows he’s the right player in the right place at exactly the right time.
Good strikers in form always have a swagger, teetering that fine line between arrogance and self-assuredness.
It is why they are a precious commodity in football, commanding the big bucks, and why they are revered so passionately on the terraces.
Le Fondre has always been rather under-rated at the higher levels of the game, regarded more as an impact sub than a regular starter.
Here at Bolton, however, he has almost always been a good fit. Heck, his surname even rhymes with ‘Wanderer'.
And on Saturday, his cool finish from the spot to haul the Whites back into the game with 15 minutes to go might just go down as a defining moment in a campaign getting more exciting by the game.
Another man in sublime form, Filipe Morais, finished off the job five minutes from time to cap off a quite incredible week.
In the space of three games Wanderers have moved from a team struggling to evolve after the January window to one that has taken the automatic promotion chase by the scruff of the neck.
Questions were asked when Parkinson rescued Le Fondre from the bench at Wigan Athletic back in January. Would he fit into the system? Was there enough time for him to shake-off the cobwebs of 18 months spent in the doldrums? This week, we got our answer.
It took a freakish finish at Fleetwood to get him off the mark but ‘Alfie’ is now purring, with four strikes in his last three starts.
There was no doubt whatsoever that once referee Richard Clark punished ex-Whites star Matty Taylor for handball with 15 minutes to go that the resulting penalty would end up in the back of the net.
Northumberland official Clark and his assistants had been swayed all afternoon by the loudest appeal – and the ferocity with which the North Stand rose to their feet to claim that spot kick left him with no option but to point to the spot.
How, then, had a crowd who had grumbled their team off the pitch against Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon been transformed into such a partisan presence?
The answer lay in the attitude of Le Fondre, and others like him, from the first whistle to last.
Chasing down and hassling defenders all day long, the striker summed up the burning flame which has been lit under Parkinson’s team in the last month.
When Adam Smith made a brilliant stop to deny Le Fondre one-on-one at 0-1, other front men may have gone back into their shell. Instead, a few minutes later, the former Stockport County man was grabbing the ball and blasting it into the back of the net from 12 yards.
From there, for all their admirable efforts, Northampton were a sitting duck.
Smith made another fine save to tip Darren Pratley’s header over the bar before a flowing move of a dozen passes or more ended with Andy Taylor crossing low for Filipe Morais to crash home the winner with five minutes to go.
The victory had not been pretty. Four-goal hauls against Fleetwood and Gillingham had raised levels of expectation around the Macron but while Northampton are not necessarily a fashionable name, they are a well-organised side not accustomed to losing many games.
Wanderers had to scrap. And though some of their stars are not necessarily granted the same unconditional love on the terraces as Mr Le Fondre, the likes of Gary Madine and Darren Pratley are doing no less of a grand job.
Madine has fashioned a promising partnership with his strike partner and linked play up well despite getting bounced from pillar to post by centre-halves Zander Diamond and Lewin Nyatanga.
Pratley’s never ending energy supply has been a joy to behold since he returned from a seven-month lay-off and while Le Fondre and Morais will grab the headlines for their eye-catching involvement, it is perhaps the Bolton captain who deserves most credit for taking the fight to Northampton.
Up to half time both sides would have been satisfied with their day’s work.
Defences had been on top, both keepers opting to punch rather than catch in the wet conditions.
Matt Taylor hooked a header from his own defender off the line at the end of first half but otherwise, Wanderers were fairly limited.
The 35-year-old midfielder still possesses a wand of a left foot and as the Whites started to concede silly free kicks around their own penalty area, it invited trouble. Sure enough, Michael Smith turned one such free kick past Ben Alnwick on 55 minutes to spell trouble for Wanderers.
Social media sprung to life, negative comments spraying out of laptops far and wide. Inside the stadium, however, a very different mood had emerged. The fans were willing their team back into the game.
The players responded in kind. Le Fondre spurned one golden chance but was back to bring his side level when Wheater’s header bounced off the arm of his former team-mate Taylor.
Morais crashed home a fine winner, instigated mainly by Andy Taylor’s patience and precision on the left but also involving a superb pass from Jay Spearing, who emerged from the bench to rapturous applause.
Jon-Joe O’Toole nearly supplied a shock deep into stoppage time. His close-range effort was ruled out for offside, as linesman Billy Khatib suddenly became the toast of the town.
Another test passed, nine to go.