Winning is mind over matter for Wanderers

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

OWEN Coyle admits he had to resort to mind games with his players to help churn out a vital victory at Hillsborough.

The Wanderers boss sent his side out early for the second half to warm-up in an effort to avoid their customary slow start, which has seen them concede six goals already this season in the first 15 minutes after the break.

The surprise move appeared to have worked until referee Keith Stroud awarded another soft penalty against Keith Andrews for an apparent foul on centre-half Anthony Gardner. The smirk on the former Spurs defender’s face summed up just how lucky he felt at the time.

But, for once, that didn’t signal a collapse. And after a testing week, Coyle was pleased to see the Whites regroup quickly.

“A lot of things are psychological in football, aren’t they?” he said. “And for my liking we’ve conceded far too many goals in the 15 minutes after half time.

“It’s important you get the players tuned in, so we tried that and it seemed to be working. “As it happened today I think it was 16 minutes when the goal went in, so that’s quite bizarre.

“But the pleasing thing for me was that we didn’t dwell on it. “We stood tall, scored a fantastic goal through Mark Davies and won the game deservedly, and all credit to the lads for that.”

Coyle thanked the 2,000 travelling fans for their support, after a week in which his own future had been the topic of conver-sation around the town.

“We looked as if we’d score every time we went down the park here, backed by an incredible number of fans,” he said. “I accept we don’t have as many points as we’d like, and it would have been very easy for some of them to stay at home. “But they turned up in their numbers, sang their hearts out and the players responded to that.

“It was an outstanding victory, fully deserved, but it should have been by a bigger margin.”

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