THE magic is happening all over again with Sammy Ameobi.

Victory over Norwich City had plenty of diverting sub-plots – Adam Armstrong’s satisfying first league strike to silence his doubters, Antonee Robinson’s rapid maturation into a top-class full-back or the fact Gary Madine’s recent improvement was down to a Friday-night bag of chips.

But none were as fascinating as the latest performance coaxed out of the former Newcastle United winger, whose silky skills are now proving worth the admission price at the Macron.

Before pitching up at Bolton last season Ameobi had been regarded as a footballing enigma. The tag ‘super sub’ had followed him from Tyneside round a succession of loan moves and his work-rate consistently questioned.

Phil Parkinson managed to change perceptions of the 6ft 4ins winger in four short months on loan but, despite impressing in League One, Newcastle gave him little opportunity to showcase his improvement in the Championship when they recalled him at the start of the year en route to promotion.

The relationship forged between the player and manager during that spell secured his services permanently in the summer and, though a knee injury meant we were forced to wait to see if Ameobi could cut it regularly at this level, he has given an unequivocal answer in the last few weeks.

Against the Canaries he not only dazzled with his footwork in a fashion we haven’t seen since Jay Jay’s hey-day, he made more tackles than anyone else on the pitch. So good they signed him twice, you might say.

Wanderers are going to need to milk every ounce of effort from their squad if they are going to heal a poor start to the season and escape relegation – and nobody sums that up better than Ameobi right now.

Parkinson and his staff deserve credit not only for getting Ameobi fighting fit but for making supporters believe the survival effort is possible too.

The strains of the Great Escape boomed round the stadium in the second half in a way you could hardly have imagined a month ago when we were totting up the number of hours Wanderers had gone without a goal.

Faith has played a big part thus far for the Whites. Ken Anderson’s decision to stand by his manager when chairmen at rival clubs were getting an itchy trigger finger is looking a sound one and has resulted in a five-game unbeaten run hardly imaginable in September.

Parkinson has stood by attacking players enduring a barren run and has also been rewarded in kind. Madine is playing his best football since joining Wanderers – perhaps even in his whole career. If chips are what is fuelling this current form, expect a mile-long queue of Bolton fans at Olympus the night before the Preston game, for there will be no shortage of offers.

His goal to open the scoring on the half-hour showed real striker’s hunger, turning home a good low cross at the near post from the diligent Darren Pratley.

When Armstrong smashed home a nice lay-off from Madine five minutes later you just knew this would be Wanderers’ day.

The Newcastle United loanee has been playing through a sticky patch in front of goal, which rendered all of his hard work invisible to those who demanded Parkinson drop him from the side.

Missing a great headed chance did little to win over the doubters early on but one can only hope now he has opened his league account for the club, he can relax and tap into the prolific finishing he showed at Coventry City.

Had Cameron Jerome been more clinical, it may have been a more difficult day. Norwich made chances early on but lost their way midway through the first half and never again regained control of the game.

Ben Alnwick had his best match of the season, making one superb second-half stop when Josh Murphy had burst through. His catching was also first class and ensured the Whites’ back line had a relatively straightforward day.

Parkinson’s first choice centre-backs David Wheater and Mark Beevers were the stars of the recent draw at Fulham but here it was the turn of the full-backs to out-shine them.

Mark Little has been Wanderers’ most consistent player since mid-September when he got back into the team and his partnership with Ameobi on the right side is starting to become a regular attraction.

Antonee Robinson gave another performance belying his tender years, making one second-half clearance from under his own crossbar in near-silence as the Macron held its collective breath and Jerome waited to pounce.

That Murphy did grab a consolation in the 94th minute was more annoying to Alnwick and his defence than the Wanderers fans, who by that stage were planning how to celebrate a deserved victory.

Parkinson rarely loses his calm but pumped the air with his fist on the final whistle, aiming a primal roar towards the crowd. His side were off the bottom of the table at last.

Everyone has a theory on how many points Wanderers will require but realistically, they need to ensure the gap between themselves and 21st place – currently two points – does not get any larger.

January will be a telling month. The transfer window opens, loans expire, and players in the final year of their contract – Ameobi included – are able to speak about moves elsewhere. If Wanderers can keep up with the Joneses then just maybe they can pull off the improbable.