IAN Evatt reckons Billy Crellin’s penalty heroics against Bradford were “written in the stars.”

The Wanderers boss had been hauled through the headlines for his comments on the on-loan Fleetwood keeper after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Cambridge United.

But there was much more to be happy about tonight as Crellin’s vital penalty save from Billy Clarke ensured Bolton held on for their first home win of the season.

Nathan Delfouneso’s first-half goal proved decisive, paving the way for Evatt to reiterate his point that the keeper needed a public ‘kick up the backside’.

“I’ve got a lot on my mind and a lot to say and I need to be extra cautious with what I do say,” the head coach said.

“Firstly again, I can’t reiterate enough and apologise for the ‘man up’ comment itself. I didn’t mean that in any derogatory way.

“The terminology was wrong and I accept that and I’ve learnt from it. But what I will say is sometimes when you’re a manager, you have to recognise people’s characters.

“It’s part of management in any form of life, in any form of business, to manage people you need to understand people and I understand Billy Crellin and I understood what needed to be said without the man up comment, which was wrong and again I must reiterate it was wrong.

“But I understood that he needed a kick up the backside and I knew that was coming tonight, I knew, and it’s great that he’s done that.

“It was written in the stars that he’s done that and I wonder if this will be played 700,000 times that I’m praising my keeper for being outstanding and he deserved that performance tonight because I know what he’s like as a character.

“I believe in him as a goalkeeper and that was never in doubt. Simple as that."

Evatt said he would watch his words more carefully in the future but insists there was just cause to provoke a reaction from the 20-year-old keeper, who kept his second clean sheet of the campaign.

“I have learnt from it and that won’t happen again,” he said. “But in terms of the criticism, it was just. It was deserved and he knows that and I’ll always tell him and all my players the truth to their face and to you guys because that’s what I believe in and he’s responded and he’s saved a penalty and he was excellent tonight and I don’t need to say anything more on that subject.” Wanderers dominated the first half and deserved to be further in front at the break than a single goal.

They had chances in the second half too – particularly for Ali Crawford – but the visitors galvanised to put pressure on Crellin’s goal which continued right into injury time.

Stuart McCall’s side have won one in five and now sit a place about Bolton in 15th.

“It was hard fought,” Evatt said. “Bradford are a good side and the scoreline on Saturday against Newport, it wasn’t a 3-0 game and if you watch the game, which I did, Bradford deserved something out of that game and sometimes when things are going for you like it is for Newport at the top of the league at the moment, you can have the rub of the green, and they had the rub of the green on Saturday.

“Bradford are a good team, they’re tough to play against, they cause problems and overloads. We half accepted that we’d not have as much of the ball as we’d like tonight because we knew that we could hurt them on transition.

“On the second half, we had numerous opportunities to kill the game off and hurt and break and be patient until we got our opportunity and then we should have taken it. We didn’t and we should have been more clinical.

“However, the goalkeeper, the back three, the rest of the team have put in an amazing shift and they’ve deserved that result after Saturday. They deserved that result the way they came back and showed strong character at Barrow and I’m over the moon for them.”