WANDERERS have lift off in League One.

Goals from Luke Murphy and Daryl Murphy ended a seven-month wait for a league victory – and not a single person at the Memorial Stadium could deny Keith Hill’s side a single second of celebration last night.

All the talk in the build-up had been about what Bolton were missing – injuries to Jack Hobbs, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley et al had exposed a paper-thin squad and had people wondering when a first win of the campaign could possibly materialise.

But out of the embers of Saturday’s defeat against Rochdale Hill was able to find a winning formula, making four changes and putting in the most controlled and composed performance of the season to far.

Injuries to Sonny Graham, Dennis Politic and Thibaud Verlinden prompted Hill to bring in Joe Dodoo for his full debut and give Luke Murphy his first start since the 6-1 defeat at Rotherham United. Chris O’Grady also got his full debut and there was a welcome return from injury for defender Josh Earl, with Adam Senior dropping to the bench.

The result was a familiar 4-3-3, albeit a more direct approach looking to utilise the physicality of O’Grady and Daryl Murphy alongside the pace and trickery of Dodoo on the right.

We didn’t see the overlapping full-backs which have been a feature of recent weeks but if this was Plan B, then it worked well.

Things got off to a nervous start. Victor Adeboyejo bounced a header off the base of Remi Matthews’ left-hand post in the first minute. And Wanderers had barely had chance to regroup by the time Tom Nichols drifted a shot over the top of the bar with Matthews completely stranded on the edge of his box.

That seemed to spark Bolton into action and when Dodoo made the first of several darting runs down the right his cross was cleared into the path of Jason Lowe, whose powerful strike was pushed aside well by Anssi Jaakkola.

Just a couple of moments later Daryl Murphy slipped a clever pass through for Ali Crawford and his effort bounced off the post.

Former Forest striker Daryl Murphy looked dangerous in the opening exchanges, finding plenty of space by dropping off the Bristol defence. And unlike Saturday, he had plenty of support.

Much of it came from diminutive Scot, Crawford, and the pair combined midway through the half after more good work from Dodoo on the right to bring another smart save out of Bristol’s Finnish keeper Jaakkola.

Just when you expected Bristol to muster a riposte, Wanderers found a breakthrough in an unexpected place. Luke Murphy had not managed a goal in 23 previous appearances at Bolton and, at times, has struggled to command a regular place in the side. But after a crisp one-two with Crawford on the edge of the box his shot took a slight deflection before nestling into the net and sending the travelling fans into song.

Those supporters would soon be plunged into darkness as the floodlight at their corner of the Memorial Stadium failed. There would be no dimming their mood, however, as Bristol struggled to get themselves back into the game before the break.

Ollie Clarke had a couple of efforts at goal which failed to worry Matthews but in the main Graham Coughlan’s side showed little of the football which had helped them rack up four straight wins before their weekend defeat at Doncaster.

Wanderers looked compact and protected their penalty area well, helped immensely by the aerial prowess of O’Grady, in for his first start since turning out for Oldham Athletic against Northampton Town in May.

The onus was on the home side to try and get back into the game after the break but while they saw more possession, they failed to create the sort of pressure which was really going to shake Wanderers’ lead loose.

On the hour, Crawford should have made it two for Bolton. Daryl Murphy turned well on the edge and his dipping shot was spilled by Jaakkola, somehow the midfielder then managed to poke his shot wide from eight yards out.

Thankfully, his miss did not prove costly. Daryl Murphy got the chance his performance deserved – picking up on Crawford's pass to the edge of the box the Irishman surged into the area and placed a perfect shot into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club.

After that, a mass evacuation ensued. Home fans didn’t stick around long to see if their side could mount a comeback. They never looked capable, in truth.

Wanderers could have added more before the end as Bristol staggered shell-shocked through the final stages. Crawford had two chances, one volleyed wide, the other a curling shot which bounced off O’Grady and away from goal.

The thunderous celebrations at the final whistle showed what three points meant to a group of supporters who have been through the mill.

The question is, having got the monkey off their back, what can this Wanderers side produce now?