Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

  • February 28, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/9f181

Zach Clough scored his sixth goal of the season, as Bolton beat Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 in a closely-contested affair at Macron Stadium.

Despite having to wait until January for his senior debut, Clough has risen to the top of Wanderers' goalscoring charts in just nine outings as he scored the only goal in a gritty game against the Seagulls.

That goal arrived with 64 minutes on the clock, as Josh Vela's surging run resulted in him playing the ball in to Clough. With his back to goal, the 19-year-old turned well inside the Brighton box before seeing his shot trickle just inside David Stockdale's far post and over the line.

Bolton boss Neil Lennon made four changes to the team that started against Middlesbrough on Tuesday, with Matt Mills, Tim Ream, Adam Le Fondre and Clough all coming into the side. Dorian Dervite, Dean Moxey, Saidy Janko and Eidur Gudjohnsen all dropped down to the bench.

Wanderers started the game on top, as a neat move involving Barry Bannan, Emile Heskey and Clough ended with Le Fondre shooting wide of the target inside the opening two minutes.

Neil Danns was next to try his luck, getting over the ball and firing a half-volley straight at Stockdale, before Ben Amos was called into action for the first time by keeping out a close-range volley from an unmarked Sam Baldock at the other end.

David Wheater headed wide from a Bannan free-kick midway through the half, moments before he turned provider as Heskey fired over the top.

Joao Teixeira weaved his way into the Bolton box shortly after the half-hour, only to see his shot charged down by the outstanding Wheater, before Ream, still searching for his first goal in Wanderers colours, fired an attempt straight down the throat of Stockdale.

Heskey was shown the first yellow card of the game in the closing moments of the half, despite being shoved in the back prior to stumbling into Lewis Dunk, moments before Teixeira joined him in the referee's book for throwing the ball away in stoppage time as the two sides went in level at the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, although Wanderers did emerge with a change in formation. Vela stepped forward from right-back to take a place in midfield, with Liam Feeney filling in at the back. Clough was also switched from the left-hand side of midfield to occupy a more central position alongside Heskey and Le Fondre.

Just as they did at the start of the game, the hosts began the half brightly as Vela and Heskey both saw dangerous attacks fall to nothing inside the opening five minutes.

Brighton enjoyed their longest spell of pressure as the game approached the hour, though, with Amos having to be at his best to deny Beram Kayal and Baldock in quick succession.

Amos and Wheater combined to twice keep out shots from Craig Mackail-Smith on 62 minutes, moments before a break from Bolton brought about the opening goal of the game.

Vela picked up possession inside his own half and set off on a run towards the Brighton box. After evading two challenges he played the ball to Clough, who showed quick feet to turn and roll the ball into the far corner to give Bolton the lead.

Injury forced Feeney off the field in the moments that followed the goal, with Kevin McNaughton, who was controversially criticised by his manager earlier in the week, coming on for his first appearance since October.

Teixeira fired over the top as Albion looked for an immediate response, before the same man was denied an equaliser by a stunning block from Wheater.

Le Fondre looked certain to double Wanderers' advantage with 15 minutes to go, only to be halted in his progress towards goal by a debatable offside flag, before the same player shot straight at Stockdale after being played in by Bannan.

Clough fired high and wide as the search for a second goal continued, while Wheater put his body on the line once again at the other end to make the block on Kazanga LuaLua's powerful goalbound strike.

Five minutes of time was added at the end of the game, as Brighton enjoyed a late spell of pressure, but Wanderers held on to claim a vital three points that keeps them away from the relegation zone.

The win moves Bolton up two places to 17th in the Championship table, ahead of Tuesday's game against Reading - who lie one place below Wanderers, with only goal difference separating them in the standings.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Vela, Wheater, Mills, Ream, Feeney (McNaughton 65), Danns (Moxey 88), Bannan, Clough, Heskey (Gudjohnsen 79), Le Fondre
Subs Not Used: Dervite, Fitzsimons, Janko, Walker
Booked: Heskey
Goals: Clough 64

Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Bruno (Stephens 60), Greer, Dunk, Bennett, Ince, Kayal (O'Grady 82), Calderon, Teixeira, Baldock, Mackail-Smith (LuaLua 74)
Subs Not Used: Hughes, Best, Walton, Ledesma
Booked: Teixeira, Greer

Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 14,115

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Harrogate Town 13 16
15 Walsall 13 16
16 Bolton Wanderers 13 16
17 Oldham Athletic 13 14
18 Barrow AFC 13 13
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