IAN Evatt was gutted that a performance he felt was the best Wanderers had put together this season was not enough for three points against Cheltenham Town.

After a fine first half display, the Bolton boss watched his side fall behind to Alfie May’s seventh goal of the campaign, eight minutes after the restart.

Eoin Doyle – who had missed a hat-trick of good opportunities before the break and had one effort cleared off the line by Charlie Raglan – then atoned for his wastefulness by turning in a cross from Arthur Gnahoua three minutes before the end to rescue a point.

Wanderers gave debuts to two new loan signings Ben Jackson, from Huddersfield Town, and Zack Elbouzedi, from Lincoln City, and played a 4-2-3-1 formation at home for the first time since the very start of the campaign.

Though they have now failed to win any of their last four at the University of Bolton Stadium, many aspects of the performance pleased the Bolton boss.

“I think it’s the best we’ve played all season, no doubt,” Evatt said. “Cheltenham are a very good team in this division and they’re supposedly possession-based as well and we’ve completely dictated the whole game, tempo, possession, worked them but we just didn’t take our chances, and if we took our chances, we’d have blown them away, I think.

“I said they were strong from set pieces and it just shows you when you switch off that once it can cost you. I was sitting there at 1-0 thinking how the hell are we losing this game?

“Eventually, we did well to get the goal back and maybe could have gone on to win it. But I’m more pleased with the manner of the performance.

“That was a victory in my eyes with the way we played. Not so much the result, but it was a different kind of performance than it has been at Carlisle, at Exeter, probably for the first 45 minutes against Crawley.

“The second 45 minutes we dominated like we did today, but if we can continue in that vein and control the match, eventually we will score because we’ve got good players at the top end of the pitch. We’re missing Nathan (Delfouneso) today but that’s more like it from me."

Cheltenham keeper Josh Griffiths, on loan from West Brom, had to be in top form in the first half to keep Wanderers, and in particular top-scorer Doyle, at bay.

At half time there seemed little danger for the Whites but once Kieran Lee was taken off as a precautionary measure at the break, they struggled to regain the same momentum.

Evatt was pleased, however, that his team had looked stronger in possession than they had in recent weeks.

“It’s very frustrating because we had completely dominated the game, start to finish, had all of the possession, had control through possession. It is what I’d spoken about in the press and it is what we did today.

“We created a lot of chances and first half we should have been ahead.

“And we just switched off from one set piece. All afternoon we dealt with everything they did and controlled the game but when you switch off once it sometimes costs you. That’s what happened.

“It would have been an absolute travesty to lose and to get a point feels that way as well, to be honest. But we had a lot more positives today, we looked like a better football team and that’s what I want to start to do, control games like that with possession.”

Evatt was disappointed that his side conceded another goal from a set piece after May mopped up Matt Gilks’s save from Will Boyle’s header.

“It’s typical us isn’t it? We always seem to finish strong and the weight of pressure eventually got us the goal,” he said of Bolton’s efforts to get back into it.

“But their goal knocked the stuffing out of us because we were in complete control and they didn’t look like scoring. They didn’t have any scoring opportunities that I can remember and then one set piece and we’re behind.

“We knew their threat and especially the boy Boyle who got the header. We highlighted him as the one to mark because he’s very good in both boxes and Ryan, who dealt with him all afternoon, switched off that one and it cost us.

“But I am pleased to get back into it, pleased with the general outcome of the game, but disappointed to only draw.”