Rotherham United 4-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 26, 2015 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's supporters turned against their club on Boxing Day, after watching a pathetic display that resulted in a 4-0 defeat at Rotherham United.

After a goalless first-half at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, Wanderers fell behind 11 minutes after the restart and subsequently collapsed, conceding a further three times to prompt calls of 'You're Not Fit to Wear the Shirt' and 'What the f****** hell is this?' from 1,783 supporters who had made the journey across the Pennines.

Football fans can be fickle at the best of times, but there could be little argument against the words of those who made the journey, who watched on as Wanderers' dismal record was extended to just one win in 29 games.

Neil Lennon made three changes to the Bolton side that started against Fulham last time out, as Emile Heskey, Neil Danns and Dorian Dervite returned at the expense of Gary Madine, Mark Davies and Prince-Desir Gouano.

Wellington Silva returned after two months on the sidelines, but had to be content for a place amonst the substitutes.

After a slow opening 10 minutes, it was the visitors who created the first opportunity of the game, with Millers goalkeeper Lee Camp out quickly to deny Zach Clough as he looked to pounce on a Heskey flick from a Dervite free-kick.

Ben Amos was called into action at the other end moments later, sticking out an arm to prevent a teasing cross from Grant Ward from sneaking in at the far post.

Heskey received treatment for a head injury on the quarter-hour but was deemed fit enough to return to action, after which he was involved in a move which resulted in him laying the ball off to Clough, whose effort was gathered comfortably by Camp.

Joe Newell came close to breaking the deadlock on 30 minutes, whipping a free-kick towards the Wanderers goal, only to be denied by an outstanding full-stretch save from Amos.

Amos was at his best again from the next attack, this time getting down well to prevent Danny Ward from netting against his former club, while Clough fired wide at the other end as the game finally appeared to be gathering some pace.

Grant Ward looked set to break through in the closing stages of the half, as Rotherham looked to open the scoring, but David Wheater read his intentions superbly and cleared the danger, ensuring the two sides went in goalless at the interval.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, but Bolton were forced into a substitution within 90 seconds of the restart, as Madine came on to replace an injured Heskey.

Madine came close to making an instant impact, with Camp alert to catch his flick from a Dean Moxey throw-in, before the collapse began for the visitors.

Rotherham broke the deadlock with 56 minutes on the clock, as Grant Ward found space on the edge of the Wanderers box. His fierce half-volley went through a crowd of bodies and through the grasp of a potentially unsighted Amos, who was made to pick the ball out of his net despite getting hands to the shot.

Lennon responded by introducing the on-loan Silva in place of Spearing and that change looked to have brought some fresh ideas to the struggling visitors, with Liam Feeney unfortunate not to equalise with a close-range header midway through the half.

If fingers were pointed at Amos for the earlier Rotherham goal, he earned the applause on 70 minutes by coming up with an outstanding stop to deny Kirk Broadfoot from inside the six-yard box.

He was beaten two minutes later, though, as former Wanderers forward Danny Ward raced clean through on goal, rounded Amos and slotted the ball into the empty net to double the Millers' advantage.

Rob Holding and Grant Ward entered the referee's notebook for late challenges in the moments that followed, shortly before the official had his pen out once more - this time to record a third United goal, as Newell fired home from a tight angle to put the result beyond any doubt, if it hadn't been already.

Tony Andreu fired over the top as the game entered the final five minutes, but Rotherham's assault of the Bolton goal continued and they were rewarded with a fourth goal from the next attack.

Fresh from the substitutes' bench, Jonson Clarke-Harris latched on to a backheel from Andreu, escaped the attention of both Wheater and Dervite before slotting past an exposed Amos to complete the scoring.

Clarke-Harris and Clough were denied at each end as three minutes of stoppage time passed by, as the final whistle was greeted with hugely contrasting reactions from the support of both teams.

Bolton, having occupied bottom-spot on Christmas Day, will return to action against Blackburn Rovers on Monday. They will enter their final game of a miserable 2015 seven points from safety, as the Championship campaign reaches the midway stage.

Rotherham United: Camp, Richardson, Rawson, Broadfoot, Mattock, G Ward, Smallwood, Frecklington, Newell (Green 90+2), Andreu, D Ward (Clarke-Harris 80)
Subs Not Used: Collins, Ledesma, Collin, Thorpe, Derbyshire
Booked: G Ward
Goals: G Ward 56, D Ward 74, Newell 80, Clarke-Harris 86

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Holding, Dervite, Wheater, Moxey, Spearing (Silva 61), Danns, Feeney, Clough, Pratley, Heskey (Madine 48)
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Gouano, Osede, Dobbie, Twardzik
Booked: Holding

Referee: Geoff Eltringham
Attendance: 11,315

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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