STEVE Parkin praised Wanderers for providing the perfect early Christmas present in a gritty 2-0 win over promotion-chasing Cardiff City.

The assistant boss admits confidence took a knock after the dire 1-0 home defeat against relegation rivals Burton Albion last weekend – but Gary Madine’s penalty and Josh Vela’s first strike of the campaign was a perfect riposte.

“That’s a belter,” said Parkin after the final whistle. “Without getting too carried away it’s a great response after a poor result last week.

“We know Neil sets his teams up to be physically threatening, to score goals, so to keep a clean sheet means it’s a big day for us.

“They key thing was about matching everything Cardiff have thrown at every team this season. They are bold, big at set plays, they are committed in both boxes. We knew the game wouldn’t be a great spectacle and that not a lot of football would be played, and that was the case in the first half, but I thought there was quality in our play for the chances we created after half time.

“It is a well-deserved victory. Every man stood up and was counted.”

Parkin admits there had been extra pressure on the game, given the Burton defeat and words from chairman Ken Anderson which appeared to criticise the club’s recruitment.

But he was happy to see a positive reaction from the dressing room, as a game of few chances was settled by the only two shots on target.

“There was a natural disappointment after last week, and that’s no disrespect to Burton. We knew we didn’t play as well as we could,” he said.

“Today it was maybe the performance of the season because we were so committed against a very good team.”

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock has never won a game at Bolton but after his side had a goal disallowed in the first half for an offside against Junior Hoilett, saw the Bluebirds create little else.

After bringing on striker Lee Tomlin late in the game he was then forced to substitute his substitute after fearing he would be sent off in stoppage time.

"I didn't want a sending off at 2-0,” he said after bringing Tomlin off for ex-Wanderers winger Liam Feeney after only 16 minutes.

"We'd already lost the game and I didn't want to lose a player as well," said Warnock.

"I could see what (Karl) Henry was doing. I've had Henry before, and (Darren) Pratley, and they were trying to wind him up to get him off, putting his head into his face and stuff like that. So I thought 'why not bring him off'.

"We've lost the points. We don't want to lose a player as well."