IAN Evatt praised Wanderers’ resilience after coming back from a goal down to win their first league game at Cambridge United since 1985.

Not since Paul Hardcastle was number one with ‘19’ had a Bolton team taken three points from the Abbey Stadium.

And it was their own number 19, Paris Maghoma who drew the Whites level after Sulley Kaikai had established the U’s lead with a deflected effort in the first half.

Carlos Mendes Gomes provided a stunning volleyed winner after being teed up by Josh Sheehan, meaning Bolton draw level on points with Derby County in second place in League One.

Evatt admitted his side had to take the rough with the smooth.

“There was a lot of quality in there,” he said. “It was a difficult surface and they ask a lot of questions.

“The goal was disappointing and it was a huge deflection, which there is not a lot we could do about that. But there was something we could do about how it got there.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb but we’d got into some really good areas first half but the last decision, final pass, wasn’t there. We asked the player to ramp it up a bit more in the second half and they did it.

“We saw the importance of set piece goals again, and then there was a real moment of quality which won us the game.

“I thought we did okay first half, it was just our end bit. But we did play with a better intensity second half in the final third. Not in the build, because I thought that was good, but when we got to the final third we started to make better decisions, more dynamic movement, and we saw it with the second goal.

“These boys, the resilience, the character they show on a daily basis, I am incredibly proud of them.

“Being at the top end of divisions is incredibly challenging and high pressure, especially with the high expectations we are carrying. They keep finding a way.

“Carlos has had a stop-start time with us. He has had injuries, he went away with the AFCON, he waited patiently and worked hard for that moment, then he took it.”

Wanderers had made four changes from the side that drew against Charlton Athletic, including Mendes Gomes getting his first league start since his summer move from Luton Town.

“We needed to make a few changes to freshen it up and everyone has got to stay ready,” Evatt said, looking ahead to the weekend.

“This is tough, as tough as it gets for us. We have 14 games left. Is that right? They all seem to merge into one at the minute. But with 14 left we just have to reset and prepare for Blackpool away, which is a tough ask.”

Evatt also had praise for keeper Joel Coleman, who made a couple of important saves to keep Cambridge at bay.

“I am delighted for him and I keep saying we need to support and back him,” he said.

“He deserved to be on the winning team, especially again with character and resilience after the deflected goal. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, he picked himself up and he was great along with the back three or five.

More than 900 Bolton fans went back to Cambridge a fortnight after the first game had been postponed after just nine minutes of football because of a waterlogged pitch.

They got a free pint of beer for their trouble from U’s sponsor Brewboard, but Evatt thanked them for the role their vociferous support played in getting them ahead.

“They are incredible. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself with the support we get, to make that journey again so soon is amazing. They were so supportive and they make a huge difference, as we saw tonight.”