IAN Evatt believes patience played a part as Wanderers put struggling Southend United to the sword at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Despite never being at their best, the Whites won comfortably with two goals from Eoin Doyle – one from the penalty spot – and a first-half header from Nathan Delfouneso.

Bolton have not won a league game by a three-goal score-line since sealing promotion to the Championship in April 2017 but always looked like they had an extra gear against a visiting side which has been ravaged by unavailability in recent weeks.

“It was workmanlike,” Evatt said after the final whistle. “I said in the week they are not a bad team. They are young and try to play the right way, so they were going to have spells in the game.

“We didn’t move the ball quickly enough with tempo first half but Antoni Sarcevic had a great opportunity early on and if that goes in it is probably a different game because they would have to come out.

“We were patient with their press first half and we had to try and build. We didn’t play forward enough and with quality, and the combinations weren’t quite right in the final third. But second half they came out and had a go for 15 minutes, we were patient, and worked out where the space was again. It was with the wing-backs.

“Alex Baptiste joining in from right centre-half has created some good opportunities and we managed to kill the game off.”

Veteran Baptiste rolled back the years to supply a fine cross for Delfouneso for the first goal and then lead the charge in the second half to make the game safe.

Southend disputed the award of the penalty, given for a trip on Doyle by Jon White, and converted by the Irishman for his fifth of the season.

He made it an even half dozen before the end, converting another great cross by Baptiste to register his 100th goal in English football.

“It isn’t by coincidence,” said Evatt of his veteran defender Baptiste. “Alex is a good player and you don’t play in the Premier League unless you have got ability with the ball.

“He does what I ask him to do. Sometimes when teams are sitting in with low blocks, a bit like Sheffield United, you need someone to come and join in from your outside centre-backs because that is normally where the space is.

“We did that with the goal and at times in the first half but the goal in the second half was an excellent passing move that we have worked on in training – good combination, good rotation, great ball in and Doyler does what he does. It’s pleasing.”

Wanderers have not won five games on the spin since 2017 and with many of their rivals in cup action, moved themselves to within a point of the play-off picture in ninth.

But Evatt also had some words of consolation for his opposite number, Mark Molesley, whose side has taken just five points all season.

“We are happy, satisfied, not ecstatic,” Evatt said. “We feel we can be higher than where we are in the table and there’s lots to improve on.

“At 0-0 they have an opportunity and that’s when we needed the keeper to make a save, which Matt Gilks did really well, and then we got the goal just before half time.

“But they are not a bad team and Mark (Molesley) is doing a fantastic job in the circumstances and it’s great to see a young manager with a philosophy trying to play the way he does.

“I just hope he gets given the time he deserves. Sometimes, especially in the midst of a pandemic and with the trouble he’s had off the pitch, you deserve a chance to get it right.”