IT has always been a great strength of Ian Evatt and his Wanderers team that they have found answers when folk are asking questions of them.

Rightly or wrongly, there had been an invisible asterisk placed against victories over Northampton and Wycombe, which had rankled with those inside the camp.

Three points had been gained but there were some who took issue with ‘how’ the matches had been won, and that second-half performances had not been as impressive as the first. That may seem harsh – entitled, even – but such is the high expectancy within this fanbase to see their club back in the Championship, that is the way of things.

That wobbly 45 minutes at the Toughsheet last Saturday could easily have been a precursor to disappointment, given there was 750 miles of travel to negotiate between away games at Wycombe and Charlton. This, the people said, was a true test of where Evatt’s team really stood.

Six points later, they passed, with flying colours.

This is a group pushing against the glass-half-full brigade, and at The Valley they put in a performance of attacking and defensive football which would have been difficult to criticise for even the most pragmatic onlooker.

Two first-half goals in five minutes from Randell Williams and Dion Charles established a deserved lead, and by the half-hour mark a huge 1,888-strong following was giving the ‘ole’ treatment to each successful pass.

Williams had opened the scoring with a delightful curling shot off the inside of the post after a clever corner routine had caught the home side napping. Charles’s 10th of the season followed quickly, a lethal finish from Josh Dacres-Cogley’s pass whilst Charlton temporarily had 10 men with Terrell Thomas off the pitch.

Home fans were unimpressed that referee Geoff Eltringham had prevented Thomas from returning after getting treatment – and the mandatory 30-second wait did feel somewhat lengthier – but with the Whites in such irrepressible passing form, one man probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Wing-backs Williams and Josh Dacres-Cogley had stretched the home side to breaking point, Josh Sheehan – surely in the form of his career – switched play this way and that, and Aaron Morley revelled on a ground with good memories, making passes that continually laid the home defence bare.

Truly, if a demonstration of Brand Evatt was to be recorded, the football played between the 10th and 40th minute at Charlton stands as a perfect example.

Bolton have scored more during that golden spell. Well, there had to be some level of critique, didn’t there?

It is also fair to say that Michael Appleton’s team were way below par – or to put it more accurately, being made to look below par.

As one wag on social media put it at half time: “If you want to know how bad Charlton have been, there are some pigeons in the Bolton half that have only had to move once.”

There was a little flicker of life from Alfie May – hitherto treated as a rag doll by Ricardo Santos – just before half time that indicated the second half would not be a similar cakewalk. And so it proved, as Wanderers were cajoled into showing an entirely different side to their game.

Charlton did improve, particularly when Miles Leaburn came off the bench to give their attack more of a physical edge, but Bolton’s defending was something to behold.

We know Santos is a powerhouse who can out-sprint and be left alone to mark practically anyone in the division, allowing Bolton to pour all their attacking resources in the opposite direction. But the captain rarely gets praise for the simpler defensive elements – the headers, the blocks, the crosses hooked away from danger. All this was present at Charlton.

Gethin Jones too was on a mission. His form had taken a dip before the red card at Peterborough nudged him out of the first team picture and allowed Will Forrester to impress his new club’s fans.

The vice-captain’s return to the team at Wycombe, and his selection ahead of Forrester at Charlton had been viewed as controversial in some quarters – but like Santos, he produced a vintage defensive performance in the second half.

For all Charlton’s bluster, they mustered just one shot on target to trouble Nathan Baxter. May dragged a volley wide, Lloyd Jones also headed a good chance over the bar.

Baxter’s goalkeeping was faultless – and after the final whistle the gloves he threw into the crowd ended up in the possession of an 11-year-old fan, Kieran, attending his first-ever away game with his dad. One suspects it will not be his last, and with such gestures, lifelong memories are made.

Wanderers had to work hard to protect a fourth clean sheet of the season but they also created big chances. Charles combined well with Victor Adeboyejo to go through on goal, only to be denied by Ashley Maynard-brewer, and Williams had two big chances to kill the game stone dead, the second of which was created by Santos’s marauding run and cross.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Dan Nlundulu added a fresh injection of energy before the end, keeping the ball well, and Paris Maghoma produced a couple of midfield bursts akin to those he made at Wycombe. Suddenly, this Bolton squad is not looking quite so threadbare.

The final whistle went and, to a man, players and staff went over to acknowledge the huge travelling support. Regardless of the squabbles, the moaning and the groaning, they are in this together. And for the first time this season, you can confidently say that Bolton looked for 90 minutes like a team that can handle what is being demanded from them.

Sure, Oxford’s late equaliser meant they did not return to the top two, and Pompey’s excellent start continues unabated. But things are going pretty well at Bolton too, and sometimes it takes a result like this for everyone to take a step back and appreciate it.