Bolton manager Ian Evatt praised the “bravery and courageousness” of his side after they beat Port Vale 1-0 to leapfrog their opponents in the League One table and move into fourth.
Dion Charles struck just before half-time to ensure the Trotters’ rise from seventh with 17 points – the same tally as Vale, who dropped to sixth as a result.
“I think the first half was excellent from our perspective,” Evatt said.
“The slight criticism and critique would be that we should have got more than one goal.
“But we had a lot of control, a lot of domination, which at a place like this isn’t easy to do.
“They’re a good team, they’ve improved a lot since they’ve been promoted.
“Second half, yeah – you can’t come here and expect to have it all your own way for 90 minutes.
“There’s going to be spells where your backs are to the wall.
“They’re going to put you under pressure and the adversity that we came through second half (was fantastic).
“The intelligence with our defending, but the bravery and courageousness, the way we put our bodies on the line and defended our box.
“You have to do that to get results away from home, but in particular here and we did that superbly well.”
Charles scored the winner in the 43rd minute, breaking through and finding the bottom corner with his left foot.
Vale nearly equalised moments later, but Ben Garrity’s effort was well saved by Nathan Baxter.
Randell Williams threatened to double Bolton’s advantage in the 53rd minute, forcing a good stop out of Connor Ripley after a long, mazy run.
Kofi Balmer headed just wide from Conor Grant’s corner as Vale pushed for a leveller, but it was not to be for the hosts.
Valiants boss Andy Crosby felt it was the proverbial game of two halves.
“If you give them too much room to play, they can do what they did in the first half, which is spend a lot of time in possession and we had to do a lot of running because the pitch was too big,” he said.
“We had to do a lot of chasing and then, when you get the ball back, you’re invariably more tired than you are normally.
“And we probably turned the ball over more than we have done recently.
“But the response of the players in the second half – we got on the front foot, we were more assertive, we were more aggressive – both with and without the ball and we penned them back for long periods of time.
“It was probably like what they did to us in the first half and we just couldn’t create that clear-cut opportunity to get ourselves back in the game.”