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Joel Dixon’s heroics earn praise from Bolton boss Ian Evatt

Walsall v Barrow – Sky Bet League Two – Banks’s Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Bolton boss Ian Evatt was full of praise for goalkeeper Joel Dixon after he marked his debut with the vital save to help the Sky Bet League One new-boys to a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Championship Barnsley.

Dixon, signed from Evatt’s former club Barrow in pre-season, saved Barnsley’s fifth spot-kick from Devante Cole before Josh Sheehan netted the decisive penalty.

“Joel was getting closer and closer to them. To play like that and save a critical penalty was great for him,” Evatt said.

“I trust him, he is reliable, and a completely different character to Matt (Gilks), but we have two fantastic keepers and I have good choice in that department.

“Then we really fancied Josh (Sheehan) to get the job done. I wish England had watched that,” he laughed.

“It was a difficult game on paper. They finished fifth in the Championship and that’s a tough league, so to do that they must be a very good team.”

Evatt was less impressed by Wanderers’ first-half display.

“We were off the pace and they dominated,” he said. “We were lucky to still be 0-0, but in the second half it was a completely different performance.

“We were more aggressive, more on the front foot and played with greater intensity.”

Barnsley boss Markus Schopp said: “That’s the worst way to go out, with the last penalty.

“We did a good job for 60 minutes but we have a problem, even in the pre-season games – we create a lot but don’t score.

“After 30 seconds we had a big opportunity and to open a game in this way would be awesome and a help for each of us.

“But it is not coming out right at the moment. We have to improve there definitely.”