SHAUN Miller grabbed a late winner for Wanderers to seal a scrappy game ay Southend United – and send his side into League Two’s top 10.

Ian Evatt was delighted to see the Whites grind out a victory at Roots Hall, sealed with an odd winner from the former Crewe and Morecambe striker.

When Antoni Sarcevic’s shot looped off a Southend defender, home keeper Mark Oxley seemingly had it covered as it dropped on to the crossbar. But the ball squirmed loose and allowed Miller to poke home his first league goal for Bolton, and the 100th of his career.

“It was a bizarre goal but they happen,” said the Wanderers boss. “We saw our goalkeeper make an error on Wednesday night and you just have to be there to put them away, fortunately for us, Shaun was there.”

There had been little between the two sides in a dire second half, the quality of football drastically affected by the poor pitch.

Wanderers did have chances in the first half – Marcus Maddison and Eoin Doyle both going close – but the game appeared to be petering out to a goalless draw until the unexpected twist.

“With that pitch the game was always going to be scrappy and it was a massive leveller on the day,” Evatt said. “First half we had the most and the better chances and that’s what we have to make count. If we get that first goal then we make things a lot more comfortable for ourselves.

“Having said that, the second half was very scrappy but I don’t think Matt (Gilks) had a save to make. I thought the defenders were outstanding and protected the penalty box great – it was just more about the front players getting us an opportunity.

“On a sapping pitch we decided to change it, Shaun Miller came back with a bang and that’s what strikers do, they sniff out those opportunities.

“I’m delighted. Good teams find a way.”

Evatt made one change to the starting line-up, bringing Nathan Delfouneso in for Lloyd Isgrove – and then changed all four members of his attacking line-up in the latter stages.

Club skipper Sarcevic made his first appearance since January 23, returning from injury to play a part in fellow sub Miller’s winner, which moved Bolton into 10th spot, four points behind the play-offs.

“Sarce has only trained one day but we just thought the other lads were tiring after a heavy pitch on Wednesday, heavy pitch today. And we ask a lot of those front players,” Evatt added.

“It’s very much a squad game now and you can see the strength in depth we have got.

“We brought on some fresh energy and fortunately for us it got us the win.

“You are not going to play well all the time and you certainly can’t play the way we want to on this type of surface. But the most important and pleasing thing for me was the way we defended, we limited them to very little – and they are not a bad team. They are a better team that where their league position might suggest.

“We came here after they got two good results away from home and done a job very professionally to get the three points.”

Evatt also cleared up some pre kick-off confusion as referee Matt Bourne appeared to ask the Bolton players to change.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said the Bolton boss. “The Under Armour has to match the same colour as the sleeves – but they play in that colour. It is a bit crazy, sometimes we need to use a bit of common sense but sometimes we lack a bit of that as well.”