Ian Evatt described his side’s first-half performance at Forest Green Rovers as “awful” – but maintained that Wanderers should still have earned at least a point.

Big second-half chances fell to Dion Charles, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Kieran Sadlier, leaving the Bolton boss a frustrated man as he summed up a second one-goal defeat in a week.

Wanderers remain sixth, yet recent performances have dented confidence among supporters in whether they can sustain a promotion push.

“We were awful first half and second we created so much, we have to score,” Evatt said.

“I think we need to look at the game first but we had a gameplan. It’s funny what one defeat can do but it looked like it rocked us, we were devoid of belief and confidence.

“Second half we had a huge reaction and basically completely dominated, so we should never lose that game.

“But this is football and it has a nasty habit of when you think you are doing well – we’d made the best start in 20-odd years – then it comes back to bite you in the backside.

“We need to get our heads down, work hard, and make sure we come out fighting.”

Once again, the Whites failed to do themselves justice in one of the division’s smaller venues, a troubling habit which seems to have followed them from last season.

Evatt recognises the pattern and is at a loss to explain how performances at home and on the road can be so markedly different.

“I think every area and aspect of our game has to improve if we want to challenge at the top end of this division. We can’t just be a really good home team, go to the nice stadiums, and perform,” he said.

“We have to do it here. And that’s no disrespect to the Cheltenhams and the Forest Greens, they are fantastic football clubs. But we need to find a way of playing with the intensity and aggression we showed in the second half.

“The main problem for us at the moment is between our ears. Tactically, physically, we have a lot of quality, but it has to be a mental thing. First half they entered our box twice and Traff makes one save, they score with the next. We had seven men in the box and we didn’t mark up.

“Second half we completely dictate the game, have them pinned in their own final third, so many chances and opportunities. But when you get a result like we did on Tuesday it becomes a case of what you do in both boxes again. Between them there was lots of good stuff, particularly second half. But it is what happened in both penalty areas that we have to improve.”