IAN Evatt praised his player for their never-say-die spirit at Crewe as they grabbed another late League One winner.

Amadou Bakayoko scored the club’s 20th goal beyond the 75th minute this season – by far and away the most in the division.

It had been a scrappy game played on a poor pitch in swirling Cheshire winds but the Bolton boss beamed with pride as his side secured a memorable win in stoppage time.

“It was never going to be easy, I think, and to be fair it was just as bad for Crewe, who also try to play what I think is the right way,” he said.

“On a pitch like that, with the wind and conditions, the game is always going to be tight and sometimes it is a set play that can make the difference.

“I thought the way we started the second half we deserved a goal. We hit the post a couple of times and made their keeper make some saves.

“It was never going to be pretty but we just had to play in the right areas and be physical, direct at times, run into channels, and Baka managed to get us another important goal.

“What was pleasing was that we kept going. It is really difficult to play any sort of problems on that pitch but I do think we deserved to win, I don’t think they caused us any problems at all second half. The clean sheet was pleasing and I don’t think we lost our concentration or focus. We managed to get a goal at the end, which was great.”

Bakayoko scored a career-best 11th goal of the season, having made a habit of being Bolton’s late saviour this season.

The striker came off the bench in the second half to grab a winner, from a free kick won by another substitute, Elias Kachunga.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be labelled a super sub but they can still be a very good player coming off the bench, especially in this squad because we have the difference of people coming on to change the game – Kyle, Baka, Kacha, and Izzy is coming back and others waiting for opportunities. The bench was the difference today,” he added.

Wanderers are now nine points off the top six with seven games remaining – starting with a local derby against Wigan Athletic.

Evatt had refused to give up his dream of a play-off spot before the game and having reduced the gap, wants to keep the chase going as long as possible.

“We’re still there. This squad is capable of going on long winning runs and this was the first of eight cup finals we had left,” he said.

“Other teams are going to drop points unexpectedly. Things look a little better than they did last week.

“The pleasing thing is the win, the manner of it and the fact we kept going.”