It has been another long week of mixed emotions. We spent the early part of the week, moping around feeling frustrated and sorry for ourselves after missing the opportunity to seal promotion last weekend. Then we got our minds into gear as we realised that we were still in pole position and that promotion was still in our hands, if we could do the business at Crawley Town. A storm of social media messages were raging across the internet from celebrities, former players and fans around the world, united in a single cause, Bolton Wanderers to be promoted. Hopes were sky high that this would be the day when we announced that the Wanderers are back. We were together as one.
So, we headed into isolation, or beer gardens for the lucky few to watch matters unfold on Sky TV, who did their best to discourage us, pointing out repeatedly Crawley’s magnificent home record against the other nine leading clubs in League 2: 7 wins and 2 draws. The maths were simple, equal Morecambe’s result, which was likely to be a win at home to struggling Bradford City.
Doombar at the ready, we settled down to watch our future unfold. Ian Evatt made one expected change, bringing in George Thomason for the injured Kieron Lee. We were magnificent from the kick-off. We started on the front foot and kept it there throughout. Captain Antoni Sarcevic led the way with a brilliant goal inside 10 minutes. Dapo Afolayan finally got on the scoresheet with a simple tap in and by the time their captain, George Francomb was deservedly sent off, Bolton were cruising. Second half goals from Eoin Doyle and Lloyd Isgrove put the icing on the cake of probably our best performance of the season and certainly the most welcome and satisfying.
The relief was palpable after what the club has been through in recent years. We had survived the dark ages and reached the light at the end of the tunnel. I do not mind admitting that there was a tear or two in my eyes, as the realisation set in that we had done it. Credit has to go to Ian Evatt, his management team and the whole squad. Credit also needs to go to our new owners, led by our Sharon and to all the others within the club, who stuck by us. Let the celebrations begin.