Derby County 4-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 09, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton were finally put out of their misery on Saturday, after a 4-1 defeat at Derby County confirmed their relegation to League One.

Since dropping into the bottom three in October, Wanderers had failed to find a way out of trouble and travelled to the iPro Stadium knowing victory, combined with results elsewhere, represented their only opportunity of delaying the inevitable for a further week.

After conceding 10 times in their previous three games, the Trotters' already slim hopes were dealt a major blow when Johnny Russell opened the scoring from range inside 13 minutes. Tom Ince doubled Derby's advantage seven minutes before the break, before former Wanderers loanee Jacob Butterfield added a third with just over 20 minutes to play.

Zach Clough pulled one back from the penalty spot shortly afterwards, but Russell restored the three-goal lead and completed the scoring on 77 minutes to confirm Bolton's relegation to the third tier for the first time since 1993.

Interim manager Jimmy Phillips made three changes to the team that started at Brentford on Tuesday night, as Rob Holding and David Wheater returned to the defence, while Neil Danns regained a place in midfield. Dropping out were Alex Finney and Tom Walker, while Niall Maher took up a place on the bench.

It took Derby just four minutes to find a way through the Wanderers backline, as Ince raced clear on goal. After rounding Ben Amos, the angle narrowed and the goalkeeper recovered to get back into position and make a save.

Kaiyne Woolery was the first to have a shot for the visitors, only for Richard Keogh to put his body on the line to make a block, moments before former Blackburn Rovers man Marcus Olsson volleyed over the bar at the other end.

Chris Martin fired over the crossbar from the edge of the box with just over 10 minutes played, but the ball was in the net from the next attack as Russell took aim from 25 yards and picked out the corner of Amos' net.

Cyrus Christie flashed a shot inches wide two minutes later, as the Rams looked to double their lead immediately, before Craig Bryson followed suit with another attempt.

Russell and Martin both fired off target for the hosts as the clock ticked towards the half-hour, before a half-chance for Wanderers ended with Wheater having a header from a Clough corner blocked and cleared to safety.

Derby's lead was then doubled with seven minutes of the half remaining, as Ince latched on to a cross from Russell before having the simple task of slotting past Amos from close range.

Amos saved from Russell as County went in search of a third before the break, and the Bolton goalkeeper was alert to dive at the feet of Ince in added time, as the home side went in with a hugely comfortable 2-0 advantage.

There was one change to the Wanderers side that emerged for the start of the second period, as Emile Heskey came on in place of Liam Trotter.

It took a while coming, but the first shooting chance after the restart fell the way of the hosts, as Russell found space before curling over with 53 minutes played.

Bryson and Ince both fired wide in the moments that followed, before Phillips looked to introduce a bit of attacking threat by bringing Mark Davies on for Vela, who, like Trotter before him, was ineffective in the middle of the park.

Martin came close to adding a third midway through the half, but his goalbound shot was blocked as he managed to get on the end of a cross from Ince, but the ball was in the net on 69 minutes as Wanderers finally admitted defeat in their battle against the drop.

Combination play involving Bryson and Russell provided a shooting chance for Butterfield, whose 25-yard shot took a wicked deflection and looped past a stranded Amos.

Bolton responded well and were awarded a penalty when Davies was hauled down inside the box. As he did at Brentford in midweek, Clough took responsibility for the spot-kick and smashed the ball straight down the middle to beat Scott Carson.

Derby's three-goal advantage was restored just four minutes later though, as Russell pounced on slack defending to take the ball around Amos and tap into the empty net, despite initially fluffing his lines with an initial attempt.

Amos prevented the score from becoming even worse when he saved a curling effort from Ince, before Derby fans welcomed the return of midfielder Will Hughes, who has been out of action since suffering a serious knee injury in the reverse fixture at Macron Stadium on the opening day of the season.

There were to be no further cheers for the away supporters, however, as the final whistle confirmed a relegation that had been looming for a large part of the campaign. Bolton can now start to plan for life in League One, with a number disgraced senior players set to depart the club when their contracts expire at the end of June.

Wanderers still have five games to play and look set to keep to their plan of blooding youth ahead of next season, starting with the televised visit of Middlesbrough next Saturday.

Derby County: Carson, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Olsson, Bryson, Thorne, Butterfield (Hughes 87), Russell, Martin, Ince (Weimann 89)
Subs Not Used: Buxton, Bent, Blackman, Hanson, Mitchell
Booked: Thorne
Goals: Russell 13,77, Ince 38, Butterfield 69

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Osede, Holding, Wheater, Moxey, Danns, Trotter (Heskey 46), Pratley, Clough, Vela (Davies 64), Woolery
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Dobbie, Wilson, Twardzik, Maher
Booked: Vela, Moxey
Goals: Clough 73(pen)

Referee: Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 29,674

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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