IAN Evatt admits nerves played their part in Wanderers’ second-half struggle against Northampton Town.

Leading 2-0 at half time, it appeared that Bolton were on for a comfortable three points at the Toughsheet Stadium.

But the free-flowing football that had got them into the lead dried up, and Sam Hoskins’ 66th minute header made for a fraught finale.

Evatt believes his players will learn from the experience as they move towards away games at Wycombe and Charlton Athletic.

“I think it probably is a mental thing, we have to develop a ruthless streak,” he said.

“But we are only going to get to that stage by having learnings like this and making sure that we realise every team in this league wants to be competitive, especially coming here. They are going to give it their best shot and they are not going to lie down.

“I thought some of our play first half was as good as I have seen, I just wanted us to put the game completely out of their reach and we didn’t. It was 2-0 and we know momentum in football is everything, we gave it up too easily in that second half, turned the ball over too much, weren’t reliable. That makes people – the crowd, us, everyone, nervous, especially off the back of a poor result against Carlisle.

“We had to wait two weeks to get back on the pitch and everyone wanted to win so badly. I could see that in the second half performance.

“Our way isn’t to see games out. It is to stay front-footed and keep pressing. We became a little bit jittery but the most important thing is that we didn’t concede many chances and we won the game.

“Let’s learn from it, park it, and get ready for another big week.”

Randell Williams scored his first goal of the season, having had a big hand in the opening goal when his shot bounced off the post into the path of top-scorer Dion Charles.

His fine finish, created by an equally impressive pass from Aaron Morley, arrived at a time when Wanderers were playing some of their best football of the season so far.

“It is a good job he did score, because if he’d have rolled it across goal there were three strikers ready for a tap-in. I don’t think they would have been too happy,” Evatt said.

“Even for the first goal, Dion was there to sniff out the chance but Randell was there in a good position to take the shot on. Some of our approach play was excellent, it was just some of that pass detail, we either over-hit it, chose the wrong option or didn’t take the shot on when we had the opportunity. If we keep getting into those positions I back the players to improve and start finishing teams off.

“We can’t be too downhearted, we have won three out of four league games, four of out five if you include the EFL Trophy. We are getting players back, Ricardo Santos and Paris Maghoma will be up to speed quickly, and we are fourth in the table with a game in hand on most, if not two on some others. I don’t mind us flying under the radar, we just need to strive for improvement.”