WANDERERS slumped to their second straight league defeat of the new season – but Ian Evatt maintains it was the best performance of his managerial reign so far. But does the data back him up?

Plenty will say only one statistic matters - and that was the scoreline - but there are reasons to suggest Wanderers have improved over the course of the two games.

We looked at some of the available analysis to break down where Wanderers will need to improve if they are to get points on the board next weekend.

The first graphic, courtesy of experimental 361, shows that Wanderers underperformed in front of goal compared to the quality of chance they created against Colchester.

By comparison, the home side, whose expected goals total was 1.4, will be happy to have finished with two players on the scoresheet.

The timeline also shows sharp rises when a good goalscoring opportunity is created – and while the first half looks a relatively even affair, the second goal (represented by the blue dot furthest to the right) effectively kills off Bolton as an attacking threat.

The Bolton News:

The Bolton News:

Our second pair of graphics, courtesy of Whoscored.com, shows the involvement of midfield pair of Brandon Comley and Tom White was significantly increased at Colchester, as opposed to the previous weekend’s defeat at home to Forest Green Rovers.

Against Forest Green, Comley and White touched the ball just 65 times, with the majority of attacks started by the two wider centre halves.

Against Colchester, where Evatt moved to a back four, the pair shared 156 touches of the ball – just under a third of Bolton entire total. They are also more often involved further up the pitch, albeit rarely in the penalty box itself.

The Bolton News:

The Bolton News:

Wanderers were forced to defend their penalty area a lot more by Forest Green, as you can see in this graphic showing defensive clearances.

Colchester’s attacking style favoured through balls played into the channels to utilise the pace of Cohen Bramall, Courtney Senior and Kwame Poku.

That certainly tested the positioning of the Bolton full-backs and the screening midfielders in front of them.

Wanderers needed to make 18 interventions in their own 18 yard box against Forest Green but only four against Colchester that close to their own goal.

By comparison, the home side also had to make 18 clearances inside their own penalty area.

The Bolton News:

Wanderers were effective out wide on Saturday, putting 17 crosses into the Colchester box, most of which (12) were from advanced positions in open play.

The majority (nine) came from the right side, where Jak Hickman and Gethin Jones’ partnership proved particularly effective.

The previous weekend, Wanderers had put 15 crosses into the Forest Green box, five of which were corners.

The Bolton News:

The Bolton News:

Wanderers had greater possession (63 per cent) against Colchester United than they did against Forest Green (55.8) but Evatt will be happier that more of it came in the opposition half.

The number of completed passes in the final third of the pitch increased from 102 to 176 – or from 22.8 per cent of the total passes to 30.7.

And as the graphics show, when they lost possession it was also in a better area of the pitch. On eight occasions Bolton lost the ball in their own half against Forest Green, but that was tightened up to three against Colchester.

The Bolton News:

The Bolton News:

Nathan Delfouneso also seemed to get more involved against Colchester, pulling out to the left side in the new-look formation.

The former Blackpool man ran at defenders more than any other player on the pitch, dribbling the ball 10 times.

As the second touch-map graphic shows, much of his work was on the left flank but only six of his touches were in the Colchester box, and only one of those was a shot.

Getting him in more dangerous areas, using his speed and ability to run at defenders, could be key to Bolton hitting the goal trail.

The Bolton News:

The Bolton News:

And on that subject, Eoin Doyle continues to wait for his first Bolton goal – with many fans feeling he was cut adrift against Colchester.

He had two shots on the day, one of which was a clear-cut chance from just inside the penalty box, but as the touch-map shows, only six of his touches were in the penalty box. Like Delfouneso, Wanderers need to find a way of getting him more involved where it counts.