IAN Evatt hailed the character of his shadow squad after they came back from two goals down to beat Newcastle United’s kids in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Jak Hickman, Arthur Gnahoua and Jamie Mascoll all scored their first goals for Wanderers as they ensured they did not bow out of this season’s competition with a whimper.

It was the first time a Bolton team had overturned such a deficit since October 2012 and through Evatt was not happy with everything he saw, the opportunity to reflect on two wins in a week was pleasing enough.

“There were positives and negatives,” he said. “When you go two down in any game and come back to win it shows you have the right attitude. They had to dig in and fight.

“When you are not in the starting 11 it can be easy to feel sorry for yourselves but they didn’t.

“They showed a willingness to run and fight, battle, and win. They showed quality to get back into the game. But the pleasing thing was that the desire to win a football match was there for all to see.”

“The goals we conceded were really poor but they rolled their sleeves up and scored one before half time, which gave them some belief.

“Second half they had a good go. There are lots of things to work on but the positives were the willingness to run behind the opponents and stretch them, and the fight to get back into that game.”

Evatt handed Shaun Miller and Lloyd Isgrove their first starts for Bolton but both were substituted before the end, giving way for two debutants in Mitch Henry and George Thomason.

“The changes were just precaution,” the Whites boss said. “It’s their first full game back. The plan was to only give them 60. They felt okay which is a promising sign so we gave them a little bit longer but it was more for their own protection rather than anything else.”

Explaining his decision to swap Tom White for Arthur Gnahoua midway through the second half, Evatt added: “He’s still struggling with his knee a little bit, but also he got himself booked with a yellow card and then he made a tackle. I think he was probably one foul away from being in a bit of trouble so we decided to take him off before the referee got a chance to send him off.”