Lee Johnson’s inspired substitutions gave him confidence that Bristol City can go all the way in the battle for Championship play-off places after they beat Bolton 2-1.
The head coach made a triple change just beyond the hour mark and within five minutes saw two of his replacements, Matty Taylor and debutant Kasey Palmer, net the goals that turned the game on its head.
Bolton had taken a 58th minute lead through Will Buckley’s header against the run of play, but City stormed back to stretch their unbeaten run to 10 games and move to within two points of the top six.
A delighted Johnson said: “This time last year we were relying on the same players with tired legs and couldn’t maintain the form of the first half of the season.
“Now the strength of our bench is an indication that we are much better prepared to deal with our remaining games.
“You can make changes, but it is down to the attitude of the substitutes and how well they have warmed if they are to make an impact.
“Matty Taylor has made a difference for us before and looked really sharp. Kasey Palmer has only just joined us, but already our fans are chanting his name, which is great.
“We dominated the game from start to finish and it was just a case of finishing off our chances.
“I am very happy with where we are as a squad, but we know what a tough league the Championship is and we can’t take our foot off the pedal.
“Some of the football we played today was outstanding. I can see the work we put in on the training ground being transposed into matches.”
Bolton led when a mistake by Lloyd Kelly allowed Sammy Ameobi to drive in a cross from the right that was headed home by Buckley.
But Taylor looked inspired from the moment he took the pitch, quickly equalising with a low drive that beat Ben Alnwick at his near post.
Two minutes later the striker latched onto a downward header from Adam Webster at a corner and volleyed the ball across goal for Palmer with a header that just crossed the line before being cleared.
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson had no complaints about the outcome.
“We had to ride our luck at times against a very good side,” he said.
“What disappointed me was that we conceded two soft goals. Ben Alnwick has been brilliant for us and I think the shot for their first goal went through a defender’s legs, which may have left him unsighted.
“The second goal came from a corner and was not the sort I would expect us to concede against Bristol City.
“We have plenty of physical presence, yet we twice allowed them to get important touches from a corner.
“I have no problem with the application of my players. But we will need to defend better than that if we are to climb the table.
“They are on a good run and it was always going to be a tough game for us. But, having edged in front, we should have taken something.
“We grew into the first half and, although we started the second slowly, we would have been okay had we done better in the two situations we failed to defend.”
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