PHIL Parkinson was delighted to see off 2017 with a hard-fought victory over Sheffield United.

Wanderers’ first away win of the season came courtesy of Gary Madine’s 21st minute strike and represented a massive boost for the manager, who had made some sweeping changes to his side before kick-off.

Adam Le Fondre, Reece Burke, Josh Cullen, Filipe Morais and Antonee Robinson were brought in from the team beaten at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day.

A Bolton team had not won on their travels in the Championship since Easter 2015 – a total of 999 days – but Parkinson was delighted to put that statistic to bed as he became the first Bolton boss since Nat Lofthouse to keep a clean sheet at Bramall Lane.

“It has got to be up there with the best performances of the year,” he said. “Coming here we knew what to expect. We knew it would be a real high-energy style of play. We were terrific, stuck to the task, our roles and responsibilities all over the pitch.

“There were one or two enforced but when we played Sheffield United at home we went with the same system and having watched that game back I thought we were very unlucky not to get something from that game.

“The 11 we put out today were stronger than the 11 we had at home. They were slightly weakened because they didn’t have Paul Coutts. I felt if we went with the same approach we’d have a good chance.

“The lads who came in gave us a lift. We always knew for them to go the whole 90 would be tough but we made the subs at the right time and they helped us see the game through.

“It was an important win and we’re very pleased but we must make sure we don’t get too carried away with it and get ready to make it a terrific festive period with a win against Hull City.”

Madine – the former Sheffield Wednesday striker – pounced on a cross from Robinson midway through the first half for his eighth goal of the campaign.

He should have had a penalty a few moments later after being wrestled to the ground by Cameron Carter-Vickers.

The Blades woke up at the end of the first half and Ben Alnwick was called upon to make a fine save with his heel after Leon Clarke had burst through the middle.

Clarke missed another golden chance in the second half, scooping a close-range effort over the bar, and Alnwick made another fine save from sub George Baldock at his near post.

Madine’s performance was among his finest for Bolton, coming after he had dominated the headlines in the corresponding fixture in League One at the start of the year for a video dig at Blades striker Billy Sharp.

“A year is a long time in football,” Parkinson said. “You could see Gaz was trying to make it up to us by the way he played today. I’d said to him at half time that it was important his goal was a part of a winning performance and he did everything to make sure that was the case.

“His energy levels to see the game through was terrific.

“It was a great goal for us, a flowing move, Le Fondre played a great pass for Antonee and it was a quality cross. Gaz got in the six yard box again – where goalscorers play – and got his reward.”