WANDERERS returned to winning ways against Northampton Town – but not without some degree of discomfort.

Coasting at 2-0 thanks to goals from Dion Charles and Randell Williams, Ian Evatt’s side looked set to record a comfortable victory at the Toughsheet Stadium.

Their inability to push on and score a third almost came back to haunt them, however, as Northampton found a way back into the contest through Sam Hoskins, making for a nervous last 20 minutes.

Wanderers made three changes from the team beaten by Carlisle United before the international break, bringing skipper Ricardo Santos and Gethin Jones back for Will Forrester and Jack Iredale, and Aaron Morley for the injured Kyle Dempsey.

Ian Evatt had been impressed with the reaction of his players on the training ground over the previous two weeks, and he will have been delighted by the way they started the game against Northampton, too.

Within 20 minutes they had effectively made the game safe. Charles opened the scoring, pouncing for his ninth goal of the season after Williams’ low drive had bounced off the foot of the post.

Williams then doubled the lead, racing on to a brilliant ball from Morley and cutting inside a defender before rolling the ball past keeper Lee Burge.

The lead at half time should have been larger – Burge made one fine save at close range to deny Santos and Wanderers frustratingly passed up a few shooting chances in good positions.

Northampton rarely got close to the Bolton goal, their best chance coming from a misplaced pass from Santos that gave Will Hoskins a chance to shoot. Thankfully, the defender got himself in the way and bailed himself out.

That there was any doubt about the outcome was the maddening thing, as the class gap between the two teams in the opening 45 minutes was considerable.

Wanderers created more chances after the break. Charles and Thomason forced Burge into saves, Jones and Victor Adeboyejo got in each other’s way as they got on the end of Williams’ cross.

But the tempo dropped again and offered some encouragement to the visitors.

Hoskins brought his side back into the game on 66 minutes, glancing Manny Monthe’s cross past Nathan Baxter. The prospect of a point had looked a distant one for so much of the afternoon but the nervousness among home supporters said it all.

Each time Bolton’s passing game stalled or slowed, there were loud rumbles of frustration from three sides of the ground.

Evatt changed his front two, bringing on Dan Nlundulu and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, and brought the fit-again Paris Maghoma on for Morley. But Bolton were struggling to find their rhythm again.

Passing became sloppy and as the minutes ticked down, there was a very real danger that one of the Cobblers’ rare attacks would pay off.

Hearts were in mouths as the ball dropped for sub Ali Kolki in the last minute of normal time – his curling shot eventually saved by Baxter.