Neil Lennon praised his side’s character and reflected on a job well done after Bolton Wanderers finally edged past Eastleigh in the FA Cup third round.
Darren Pratley’s second-half strike sealed a morale-boosting win, after Eastleigh had threatened to heap misery on Wanderers by taking an early lead.
Joe Partington strike gave his side the advantage, before a frantic six minute period saw Bolton come from behind to lead, with Gary Madine and Dean Moxey netting, and Kaid Mohamed drawing the non-league side level again.
But Lennon was able to eventually look forward to the next round against Leeds United, stating that a win – only Bolton’s third of the season in all competitions – will do his side the world of good.
“First of all I’m delighted that we’re through and we’re into the next round,” he said.
“It wasn’t an easy game and we knew that, we were a bit pedestrian in the first 10 minutes and we got a huge wake-up call but our reaction to that was very good.
“We switched off again just before half-time, I was angry but we didn’t go mad at the players, we just tried to keep it calm as confidence obviously isn’t that high.
“Psychologically that win will give the players a lift, as we showed good character – all in all it’s been a decent night for us.”
Whilst Bolton never pulled away from their National League opponents, the second-half performance was sprinkled with a bit of Championship quality.
Lennon was quick to remind his side of the need to mix that creativity with a bit of true grit as he looked ahead to this Saturday’s crunch visit of fellow strugglers MK Dons.
“We have got decent footballers at times, and it was a chance for them to express themselves,” he said.
“The likes of Wellington, Mark Davies, Gary Madine all played well.
“Our third goal, with a one-two around the box and a great finish, that was very pleasing.
“At Sheffield Wednesday they showed great character and unfortunately they didn’t get their result the performance merited.
“Again tonight they showed good character and that’s what we need, a never-say-die attitude.
“Saturday is a critical game, if we win it’s psychologically huge and we’ll prepare as best as we can for it.”
Image courtesy of Bolton Wanderers, via Youtube, with thanks