WANDERERS got the morale boost they were looking for at Rochdale as they cruised into the second round of the Papa John's Trophy with ease.

Dapo Afolayan, Declan John and Eoin Doyle scored the goals at the Crown Oil Arena on a night where everything went according to plan for Ian Evatt's side.

Here are some of the major talking points from the night.


It was a calculated gamble sending out a full-strength side with only three changes from the team beaten at Portsmouth but it paid off handsomely.

Before the game there were doubts: ‘What if someone gets injured?’ ‘What if they lose and confidence drains even lower?’ And, in all honesty, the first 10 minutes did little to settle the nerves as Wanderers’ back line struggled to cope with Dale’s early energy.

But once a goal went in, it was a different Bolton, and one we have grown accustomed to enjoying. The football flowed, the self-belief returned, and a handful of senior players will be going into the FA Cup game in a much better mood than if they had been sat on the bench.


Night and day compared to his last couple of showings on the right side of the attack. Though Kachunga really does need a goal to settle him down, some of his movement and delivery from the right shows he definitely has something to give.

The former Huddersfield Town man has been short on confidence of late but this might be just the sort of game that sparks off a good run. And with Stockport County to come at the UniBol this weekend, we might just get another listen to that catchy terrace tune.


Many a Wanderers fan will be sat watching Afolayan’s goal on repeat as they eat their cornflakes on Wednesday morning. It was pure quality.

Nine goals in 19 appearances this season is a sensational return for the former West Ham man and Ian Evatt believes he can get even more by learning how to get himself in better positions closer to goal.

Dapo also showed his class after the game, passing his shirt on to a fan in the crowd. On what we have seen this season, it’ll be worth a few bob soon.


It is fair to say that Doyle has not looked himself of late – and though a bout of illness had laid him low last weekend, nine games without a goal have also visibly affected his confidence.

Any good striker will tell you that the way to remedy a drop in form is to go back to the basics and get them right, and the Irishman did exactly that at Spotland.

He put in the work to press defenders, got in some good positions in the penalty box and, crucially, got himself on the scoresheet from the penalty spot.

Though it did not quite drop for him in open play, there was much more to be encouraged about going into this weekend’s FA Cup game.


His cameo from the bench may have lasted all of 30 seconds but the sight of Liam Edwards getting back out on to the pitch in a competitive game for the first time in 23 months was enough to warm the heart.

The centre-back still has plenty of work on his hands to build up fitness, and given his position you would expect the majority of his games to come in the Central League for the time being.

But for a young man whose professional career once looked to be in doubt, that challenge is one he will be more than ready to accept.