CARLOS Mendes Gomes hopes his crucial goal against Northampton Town can ignite his Wanderers career – and count towards a promotion winning campaign.

The former Luton Town man produced a superb headed equaliser to help 10-man Bolton rescue a point from an awkward afternoon at Sixfields.

George Thomason saw red midway through the first half and referee Jeremy Simpson then produced another card for manager Ian Evatt during the half time break – which, unless successfully appealed, could mean both are missing for Tuesday night’s game against Wycombe.

For Mendes Gomes, his first league goal for the club since his summer move from Kenilworth Road was the highlight of a fragmented start which has involved time out injured, more than a month spent at the African Cup of Nations with Guinea Bissau, and a relative lack of game time.

But he hopes to have now done enough to show he is worth a starting spot in League One with a home double header on the immediate horizon.

“As a player you want to play, it has been a little bit tough,” he said.

“There have been things that have happened – getting injured, going away with the national team, but obviously you always want to be on that pitch and especially playing in front of our own fans.

“It is always special at our stadium, and when I get the chance I will do my best.

“I believe there is a lot more to come from me and I have been patient. But I am blessed to be here, happy to be here, and I want to help the team in any way.”

Mendes Gomes admits it was a shock to come on at the start of the second half, look towards the technical area and see that Evatt was not in the dugout.

“I am not quite sure what happened in the tunnel but we didn’t expect it,” he said. “It is just a game and there are a lot of emotions.”

Thomason faces a three-game ban if his suspension goes through, in a season where his discipline has come under serious scrutiny.

Mendes Gomes felt that his team-mate had been harshly done by, however, when he was ordered off for a challenge on Northampton full-back Aaron McGowan.

“George was gutted, more because it wasn’t a foul,” he said. “We watched from the bench, we saw everything, we even re-watched it but I don’t think it was a red card.

“The decision was made, things went against us in the game but we managed to show a lot of character coming back.”

Wanderers battled back to save a point and nearly snatched all three when Mendes Gomes, Aaron Collins and Eoin Toal were all involved in a frantic goal-mouth scramble at the bitter end.

Never at their best, the Whites remain third but are now a point behind second-placed Derby County with two games in hand, and seven behind Portsmouth, who have played three more.

Mendes Gomes was pleased to get his moment in front of nearly 1,500 travelling supporters.

“It was unbelievable, our fans are top class,” he said. “Their support away from home has been incredible. I thank them for being here.

“The message when we came on was to be ourselves, be brave and on the front foot. I think we managed well, and it was good to send the fans home with a smile on their face.

“We were a man down, away from home, and it was tough. I was delighted to get a goal and help us get a point. Coming on to make an impact was really important.

“Fair play to Northampton, they came at us. We were not quite ourselves at the start. But is shows a lot of character to get back.”