Dapo Afolayan believes there is no better feeling in football than a late winner like the one he scored for Bolton Wanderers against Fleetwood Town.
The Whites came from 1-0 down on the road against the Cod Army. Carlos Mendes Gomes had given the hosts the lead in the first half of the clash.
But Wanderers were the dominant side in the encounter at Highbury Stadium and got back on level terms thanks to Conor Bradley's equaliser. The Whites took a deserved three points when Afolayan struck deep in injury time to claim a 2-1 win.
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Wanderers forward Afolayan believes the Whites were good value for their victory and the win was evidence they will fight until the end to get their rewards. The late winner and subsequent celebrations with the travelling Wanderers supporters is up there with the best feelings in the game.
He said: “We deserved it. We have got good fighting spirit in this group and I think we have shown a lot over this last couple of months that no matter what happens, we’ll go right to the death. We got our just rewards.
“It is a mentality thing. Personally, it is something I work on a lot, trying to be strong, mentally, and knowing that things won’t go your way all the time but if you keep persevering and doing the right things in life then good things will come to you. I take that in my everyday life and then on to the pitch as well, we know we were creating good chances, playing some good football.
“We are a big fixture on the list for people. Teams want to stop us and do everything they can to nullify our threats and it is about overcoming that. It is never easy in this division but you have to keep doing.
“Teams try to stop us, whatever it takes. You have seen teams come to our place, slowing the game down and making sure we can’t play because they know the quality we have got in the group.
“There is no better feeling in football, especially right in front of your own fans. I just had to concentrate on putting it in the bottom corner – but I was already off, the shirt was coming off. I nearly did my shoulder."
The win was on manager Ian Evatt's 41st birthday, which was met with a rendition of Steve Wonder's Happy Birthday, which the boss and players enjoyed.
Recently, the Whites have been subject to critiscm from some quarters of the fan base over their performances and up and down results. Afolayan himself does not take too much notice of it and believes everyone is doing their best to try and push Bolton forward, but does not blame the supporters for having expectation or wanting the Whites to be the best they can.
He said: “I am one that doesn’t like to take much notice of it. We’re in a game where we are constantly judged, an industry where everyone is allowed an opinion and everyone’s opinion is valid. You go into other industries and you don’t get as much criticism just for doing your job. And I know every single lad in there does his job to the best of their ability, no matter what happens, mistakes or not, everyone is doing their best.
“I think it is a key thing to remember. Everyone is doing what they can to try and help the club go the right way. We have to stick together whether we hear boos from the crowd or cheers from the crowd, we are just here to do a job.
“I can never criticise our fans for having expectation or wanting the best for the team or the club. The club has gone from playing in Europe to playing here in League One in a relatively short space of time, so the expectation is always going to be here.
“I have always seen it as a privilege to play for Bolton Wanderers at this point in my career. We, as a group, have to understand and respect that, then put it into every game."
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