DESPITE great performances at Wimbledon and Lincoln on recent away trips, Saturday morning saw the return of pre-match nerves, writes Chris Evans.

Perhaps it was talk of a Portman Road hoodoo, memories of my last visit to Ipswich (a 4-3 defeat), the failure to score a goal in the previous two matches, or the re-routing of my train journey, but the signs were not good.

The train journey went as planned and we arrived with time to spare, so called into the designated away pub. Another bad omen, the real ale pumps were out of action, but the pint of East Coast IPA along with a plate of ham egg and chips did the job.

The Station Hotel began to fill up with away fans who were in good voice. There were noticeably fewer visiting fans than in recent matches, probably due to the logistics of reaching Ipswich, but this was also the first time fans had been asked to produce evidence of their vaccine status or a recent negative test to enter the stadium. Maybe a sign of things to come?

My nerves were vindicated after we conceded an early soft goal. Another slow start that is becoming the norm.

Step forward birthday boy Dapo Afolayan. The next 40 minutes were a masterclass from a young player who surely won’t be playing in League One next season.

Ipswich could not cope, notably former Tottenham defender Kane Vincent-Young, who was withdrawn by his manager to spare his embarrassment after a torrid time.

Despite an impressive spell that saw Bolton take the lead, a Santos own goal gave the hosts a lifeline.

Saturday marked the three-year anniversary of the passing of Eddie Davies. If this had happened back then, heads would have dropped, fans would have got on the players back and the opposition would have gained momentum. Not now, not under the ownership of Sharon Brittan who has galvanised the club.

“Rico, Rico” came the supportive chants and Bolton set about restoring their lead. Bolton did just that.

Three goals either side of half time helped to erase memories of away thrashings at Accrington, Rotherham and Lincoln. It could have been more, but the Bolton players eased up and saw out the game before yet another standing ovation from the 553 away fans.

Less said about the six-hour train journey home, which was more disrupted than an i-follow broadcast, but I will gladly put up with planned engineering works all season if this becomes the standard on offer.