Wanderers moved level with the automatic promotion places in League One after putting in their most complete performance of the season at Charlton Athletic. 

First-half goals from Randell Williams and Dion Charles put them in a comfortable lead – and though they had to dig deep to protect the result in the second half, some lung-busting effort in midfield from Josh Sheehan and heroic displays at the back from Ricardo Santos, Eoin Toal, Gethin Jones and Nathan Baxter ensured a deserved three points. 

Wanderers made two changes from the side that started at Wycombe, Williams returning as wing-back and Aaron Morley coming into midfield for Paris Maghoma. 

The Valley has been a profitable venue for Bolton in recent years but rarely has a Charlton side looked so generous as it did in the first 40 minutes, where Evatt’s side raced into a two-goal lead and might easily have had more. 

Wanderers made a measured start but were just starting to play the ball around with more confidence when they went into the lead 16 minutes in. 

Williams and Sheehan took a short corner, working the ball to the edge of the box for George Thomason and Morley, the former slotting a pass back through for Wiilliams to curl a shot from just inside the 18-yard box, off the post, past the stranded Ashley Maynard-Brewer. Cue acrobatics. 

Just a few minutes later there was a stoppage for treatment to Charlton defender Terrell Thomas. Under the new rules he had to spend 30 seconds off the pitch before returning – and while the home fans were wondering if referee Geoff Eltringham’s watch was running slow, Bolton were raiding into the penalty area. Dacres-Cogley played the ball in from the right, it dropped for Charles, and he lashed in a 10th goal of the season. 

Wanderers were playing the ball about with swagger. Even 31 minutes into the game the 1,888 away fans were serenading each successful pass with a Samba ‘ole!’ But there was plenty of work still to do, and with the Wycombe and Northampton games fresh in the mind, a third goal would have come in very handy. 

Thomason had the best chance, smashing a shot at goal after another nice bit of football around the penalty box from Dacres-Cogley and Morley. Either side of Maynard-Brewer and he would have been celebrating once again. 

Charlton did show some flickers of life at the very end of the half to suggest they could still come back into the game. Alfie May ended a dismal half with a volley just wide and was involved in another scramble after Tennai Watson played a dangerous ball in from the right. 

The home side did indeed have a spell of pressure at the start of the second half and Lloyd Jones went close with a header which would have made for frightening echoes of Adams Park. 

Bolton had a couple of chances to stop any momentum in its tracks, though, and after Adeboyejo was involved in one scramble – not one, but two handball shouts turned down by ref Eltringham – Charles had a golden chance for his second after combining superbly with his strike partner. Once again, the masked keeper Maynard-Brewer was brave. 

Charlton continued to manufacture enough to keep their fans interested. May blasted one straight at Baxter and also teed a chance up for Tennai Watson, scooped over the bar from close range. 

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson got his chance off the bench for Adeboyejo and very nearly played in Charles with one of his first touches after a fine break.  

Williams had two huge chances to add to his own tally in the final stages – dragging one just wide and firing another over the top after marvellous work from Santos and Dan Nlundulu in the build-up. 

Defensively, Bolton were doing everything they could to protect the clean sheet. Santos’s goal-saving block from sub Miles Leaburn summed up the effort. 

Nathan Baxter also showed his class when called upon, with one telling contribution to block a cross from Campbell on the right. 

Wanderers endured criticism, some fair, some not, in recent weeks for producing Jekyll and Hyde performances but at The Valley there was certainly no hiding.