George Thomason described his derby winner against Blackpool as one of the sweetest moments of his football career so far.
The Wanderers midfield produced a moment of magic to earn Ian Evatt’s side their sixth successive win in all competitions, sending them into the international break level on points with second-placed Oxford United in the League One table.
Looking back at his second goal of the campaign, Thomason said: “It looked like Jon (Dadi Bodvarsson) was going to let fly but then when he checked back with his left foot I was around the edge of the box and it was teed-up nicely to be struck first time. And sometimes when it comes off your boot like that you know you have struck it well, and so long as it has hit the target it has a chance. Thankfully, it hit the back of the net.
“It was a great feeling and I looked to my left and I think Cam (Jerome), Dan (Nlundulu) and Carlos (Mendes Gomes) were sprinting down the pitch from the corner flag, I was absolutely buzzing.
“It is the best goal I have scored in my career so far and the fact it settled the game probably makes it feel so much better.”
Wanderers have kept clean sheets in their last four games and have now taken 35 points from their first 16 games, their best return since winning the Division One title under Colin Todd in 1996/97.
It proved a hard-fought win, with Blackpool hitting the post in the first half and splitting possession almost down the middle. But Thomason felt Bolton’s performance underlined their promotion intent.
He said: “Credit to Blackpool, they are a really good team, organised in and out of possession and they caused us problems at times. No doubt they will be up there at the end of the season.
“But sometimes we can’t win a game in the first half – this was one of the more complete performances through the season for a 90-minute match. We defended our box well, we created more chances in the second half and maybe could have had one or two more.
“It was a tricky game but when one goal decides matches, they feel sweeter.”
To make life even better, Thomason’s goal came against the club that had released him as a 16-year-old.
Thomason had been studying at college, working in a corner shop, and playing for North West Counties League Longridge Town when former Bolton boss Keith Hill signed him in January 2020.
“I was there for a long time and my upbringing in academy football was at Blackpool but that was five or six years ago now,” Thomason said after the game.
“I had some friends in the away end giving me a bit of grief and they were saying ‘we wish you the best but don’t bother scoring’ – but honestly, football tells stories sometimes and today I had a little look to the stands and just thought ‘this is a little part of my story’. It is just great to be a part of it all.”