WANDERERS made a mockery of their much-discussed injury crisis to turn on the style against Doncaster Rovers.

Eoin Doyle, Elias Kachunga and George Thomason grabbed goals in one of the Whites’ most convincing performances of the season.

Their cause was helped by a straight red card issued to Rovers defender Joseph Olowu for a needless lunge on Dapo Afolayan – but make no mistake about it, the rout was already on the cards with 11 men, let alone 10.

With so many first team options injured, it was always going to be a patch up job for Ian Evatt when he scribbled the team-sheet. But the Whites boss threw a curve ball by including the predominantly left-sided Liam Gordon in the starting line-up as a right-back.

Eoin Doyle did return from a calf injury having missed the last three games but there were just six substitutes named on the bench, two of which have yet to make their league debut.

Perversely, there would be more bad news to come. But due credit to Wanderers for the way they went about the job in the first half, where despite the chop-shop 11, they looked much the better side on show.

Doncaster had one moment to grab a foothold in the game, midway through the half when Dapo Afolayan lost the ball on halfway and Barlow was able to send Bolton old boy Joe Dodoo into the penalty box. He slipped a pass unselfishly to the side for John Taylor but might have wished he had gone alone as the ball was ballooned miles over the bar.

Wanderers had relied heavily on the big switch pass from Will Aimson or Ricardo Santos, seeking out the pace they still had out wide. Gordon was an interesting addition on that front, and while he continually looked to cut in on his left, Rovers full-back Branden Horton never looked comfortable knowing he could run in behind him.

Doncaster had just started to find some rhythm when Bolton were dealt a couple of blows within minutes of each other. First, Lloyd Isgrove failed to shake off an injury sustained when he slid in on Tom Anderson, resulting in him limping off the field to be exchanged with George Johnston. Next, Afolayan picked up a soft yellow card – his fifth of the season – which means he will miss Saturday’s home game against Cheltenham Town through suspension.

The UniBol fell silent as it digested that news but Bolton continued to chip away, and Doyle was inches away from turning in Declan John’s cross.

A matter of minutes later, the Irishman was celebrating. Gordon found space on the right, cut in past Horton and fed Kachunga, and as he looked to drive an angled low shot towards goal, Doyle was right on his toes to poke the ball in at the far post.

Doncaster appealed for offside and there was a nervous glance from the goalscorer before he sprinted away with his team-mates, but it was the breakthrough this brittle Bolton so desperately needed.

Just before half time, Olowu’s moment of madness blew any chance his side had of getting back into the contest.

Afolayan broke free on the right, and the Doncaster defender clumsily dived two-footed to catch his heels, and spark a touchline melee between the two sets of players.

Referee Stephen Martin settled things down and showed Olowu a straight red card.

Wanderers went right for the jugular and scored a second. Afolayan danced on the right edge of the box to beat a weary Horton, drilling a low bouncing cross into the six-yard box that Kachunga simply had to bundle over the line.

Doncaster had a brief flutter after the restart, with Joel Dixon quick off his line to stifle a chance for Horton, who had ventured forward on to a good ball from Galbraith.

But against 10 men, two goals up, Bolton were able to let their possession football kick in and drag their unfortunate visitors about the park like it was a game of lads against dads.

George Thomason was the tormentor in chief. The youngster could not find a way past some of his more senior midfield colleagues earlier in the season but this was the kind of games that suited his educated style perfectly.

Kachunga should have made it three when Thomason found him with a wonderful cross from the left. Wanderers quickly built again, and another intricate web of passes on the edge of the box later, Kieran Lee laid off for Ricardo Santos to pass a shot narrowly wide.

The third goal did arrive, though, and it was a thing of beauty despite a scruffy finish.

Some 20-plus passes were woven from the back into midfield, the pace quickening as play approached the penalty box where John squared for Thomason, his shot looping off Horton and past the keeper into the net.

Richie Wellens’ side looked spent. They were lucky not to have a penalty awarded against them when Afolayan’s shot was charged down by Dodoo, the ball bouncing off the striker’s arm and over the crossbar.

Kachunga then decided he could do it on his own, bursting deep into enemy territory and beating three players on the edge of the box before having a shot deflected wide.

Evatt was able to rest Doyle and Lee for challenges ahead. Xav Amaechi revelled in the promise of retreating defenders and open spaces on the right, putting in some of his most eye-catching work since his return from injury.

Wanderers were able to coast the last 10 minutes but still came close to adding a fourth as Declan John’s cross-shot was tipped over the bar, Amaechi dipped a free kick over the topand Nathan Delfouneso squeezed a shot over after more good work on the left from John.

After a week where the queue for the treatment room started to snake around the training ground, there was only one casualty at the UniBol… And that was Doncaster.