June 15, 2024

Latics completed a famous double over their nearest neighbours thanks to Stephen Humphrys’ strike just after the midway point in the first half.

Thelo Aasgaard and Martial Godo came close to adding further goals shortly after but, that purple patch aside, it was the visitors who dominated in most areas on the park.

However, a steely determination to get the job done saw Latics dent their rivals’ promotion hopes, leaving manager Maloney busting with pride.

“Tonight was just a deep desire not to concede, and a strong mentality,” he said. “I know we’re a very young team, full of Academy boys who have not played much before this season.

“But I want them to show me a mentality…and tonight they showed me that.”

When asked whether this one meant even more than the previous game, Maloney added: “It was maybe even more so than last time, just because these games are really hard

“When you have to defend for that long…I know when we scored, it felt like we had to defend out half for the rest of the game.

“You want to push up but, as a player, it’s difficult because you’ve got something to hold on to.

“And I take real joy in that…when players are putting their heads and their bodies on the line.

“I’m also fortunate in that I’ve got an incredible goalkeeper, who seems to be getting even better, he’s saving me in a lot of matches.”

Pivotal to the win was the evergreen Callum McManaman, who was restored to the starting XI and set the tone from the off with his trademark bite.

“Cal deserves to feel the way he’s feeling, because he was brilliant, he really was,” gushed Maloney, a former team-mate of the Liverpudlian more than a decade ago.

“He was our biggest threat in that first half, we had some good passages of play, but everything revolved around him.

“They’ve got good players, Bolton, their left wing-back is a very good player who caused us problems in the second hal

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