As weeks in football go, they don’t come much more underwhelming than the one that has just passed by at Wanderers.

Motoring along nicely after the win at Lincoln City, reflecting on good competition within the squad and a points haul after 10 games that surpassed anything the club had managed in two decades, the good vibes came to a disturbingly sudden halt after two games in Gloucestershire.

The Cheltenham defeat was, to coin Ian Evatt’s description, awful. It has been some time since a Bolton team has failed to show up en mass like that.

Even more galling, however, was the lack of response at Forest Green a few days later. A first half wasted and a second half being wasteful.

Of course, it is important to put the two results into context. Wanderers remain sixth in the table, their defensive record is still solid, their second half display at the New Lawn was at least more adventurous, if not rewarding.

Regardless of current mood, Bolton have been among the six best sides in the division to date and so those advocating that Ian Evatt rips up his gameplan and starts again are going to be disappointed. The style of football is not going to change – but here’s hoping there are tweaks made that make it more effective.

At one stage at the famously vegan friendly Forest Green, one disgruntled supporter took to throwing sausages on to the pitch in the first half to get their kicks. By the break, it might as well have been rotten tomatoes.

There is justification behind the anger which has greeted both results, though, and especially at the scene on Saturday when the manager appeared to react so something that came from the Bolton fans lining the side of the pitch as he walked back in at half time.

The Whites have been bettered for hunger over the course of 180 minutes. Even had Dion Charles, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson or Kieran Sadlier converted one of several presentable chances in the second half at Forest Green, the way they had gone about the game would still be a concern.

Since the international break, including the penalty shootout defeat at Tranmere in the Papa Johns Trophy and even the win against Lincoln, there has been a downturn in tempo, more akin to the end of the season for a mid-table team with nothing to play for rather than one who claims to have an eye on promotion.

Errors in concentration at the back have been few, but costly, magnified by the profligacy being shown by a group of attacking players whose work-rate has far outweighed their finishing power.

Forest Green had no such problems. Conor Wickham landed the killer blow 33 minutes in, ghosting in unchecked to turn in Core O’Keefe’s cross after a cheap turnover of possession in midfield had left the Whites badly exposed.

Theirs were two of only 10 touches the home side had in the Bolton penalty box. James Trafford’s excellent save at the feet of Armani Little was another.

By comparison, Wanderers mustered 28, including 10 shots at goal. Three quarters of those touches were in the second half.

Those who watched Evatt’s side through a ponderous first 45 minutes will remember more the latent passing across the back three, or the fact Trafford saw three times as much of the ball as striker Charles or more than twice that of playmaker Kieran Lee.

Bolton’s inability to play through midfield had been clear at Cheltenham, if slightly forgivable. The smaller pitch did compact the game, meaning a more direct approach was needed. Saturday’s game was a different story and by the time the Whites had learned that an extra man had to step forward with the ball, instead of shifting the responsibility, they were already a goal down.

Whereas Cheltenham emerged with great credit for their pressing throughout the game at Whaddon Road, Forest Green rarely reached the same level of quality out of possession. Once Jack Iredale had replaced George Johnston – the message then sinking in across the team that they needed to get on the front foot – the home side looked vulnerable.

Unfortunately for Wanderers, that is the point another problem emerged.

Chance conversion has never been a strong suit for Evatt’s team, even when they possessed a penalty box player like Eoin Doyle. At Forest Green the lack of a finishing touch was hard to watch, be it Charles missing one-on-one with Luke McGee or Sadlier blasting a volley over the bar from close range, this was not the work of a top six attack.

But for Iredale, whose half-time arrival helped Declan John create an effective supply line down the left, substitutions looked reactive and fell short. The game seemed to need a calm head to pick a way through but Aaron Morley and Josh Sheehan remained frustratingly idle on the bench.

What looked like a winning formula just a couple of weeks ago now appears not to add up for Evatt, who must use his week well to prepare for Barnsley.

Eliminating some of the more extreme opinions that surfaced on Tuesday and Saturday evening, there are some valid points being made about the effectivity of the Bolton attack and whether in the pursuit of a high pressing game, the team is slowly forgetting how to score regularly.

Last season’s top scorer Dapo Afolayan has been mysteriously relegated to bit-part player, creative midfield options spurned in favour of industry. Not to mention Bolton’s continued struggle to play away from home on anything but the more grandiose stadia in League One.

Evatt has faced this sort of conundrum before and found a solution. At least this season he has options within his squad, albeit some seem out of favour at present.

Wanderers return to the comfort and luxury of home for their next two games in league and cup but must then roll up their sleeves again at Accrington. Heaven forbid they should be feeling sorry for themselves at that stage.