‘We dominated - but they are top for a reason’: Bolton Wanderers boss’ verdict as he concedes title to Portsmouth

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Ian Evatt was in no doubt his side were the dominant force as Bolton lost grip on their Championship destiny.

But the Wanderers boss praised Pompey’s resolve, as he admitted the League One title is now beyond his side.

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Evatt saw his men pass up clear chances and pressure in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Toughsheet Stadium, as the Blues toughed it out to move within an inch of promotion.

That was a cause of consternation for the former defender, but he couldn’t be critical of Bolton’s overall performance.

Evatt told the Bolton News: ‘It is frustrating because it is hard to be too critical of the players, they are a team that has only lost four times all season and they are extremely resilient. They are top of the league for a reason.

‘Barring the first 10 minutes, where we conceded a really poor goal in transition to their most dangerous player, from a loose throw in, we dominated and had enough opportunities to win. That is the frustrating thing. We hit the post, missed a couple of big chances, they had one shot on target all game and scored with it.

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‘We had 19 shots to their five, five or six on target. When you watch a game sometimes you get a feel for who is the most dominant side, and then sometimes the data backs up that feeling. Today that was the case.’

The result means Bolton conceded control of the race for automatic promotion to Derby, who know they will be going up automatically if they win their final two games of the season.

For Pompey, a point from the final three games gets them up, with two more points required to secure the Championship - something Evatt fees is now beyond Bolton.

He added: ‘I am okay, I am mentally strong and I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my life, which has led me to valuable lessons. I have belief in myself and if it’s me that has to pick everyone up, I’ll do it, if I have to carry every one of them, I’ll do it. I know how good those players, this club, this fanbase is. And we want to create something magical here.

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‘I know the players and the fans will be disappointed this evening but, hopefully, with some perspective, they will see tomorrow that we are not quite out of it yet.

‘There are three ways to get promoted and we’re humble enough to say that one of those has gone now. But there are two more available and if we perform like that, I believe we will be promoted.

‘Our aim has to be to keep playing like that now. The squad is getting stronger all the time, it is great to have Dion back and maybe a sharper Dion Charles puts that (a chance which hit the post) in the back of the net? It will come.

‘We have to be positive. It doesn’t matter how we get there, we just have to try and get there next season. There are two more avenues open and we will be giving it our all to try and make that happen.’

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