Cardiff City 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 23, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton equalled an unwanted club record on Saturday, with a 2-1 loss at Cardiff City seeing them slip to a 25th league defeat of the season.

After a dismal campaign both on and off the pitch, Wanderers were tasked with remaining unbeaten in their final three games to avoid the embarrassment of going level with the sides of both 1970/71 and 1995/96.

The Trotters actually made a positive start at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Zach Clough firing them into a 7th-minute lead, but the dismissal of Niall Maher on the half-hour left them hanging on for the remainder of the afternoon.

Kenneth Zohore equalised 10 minutes after the break for the Bluebirds, who then went on to win it in stoppage time after substitute Tyler Garratt brought down Kadeem Harris and provided Peter Whittingham with the chance to fire home from the penalty spot, one which he duly converted.

Interim manager Jimmy Phillips made just one change to the team that started against Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, as Neil Danns took the place of Mark Davies in midfield - while Garratt took up a place amongst the substitutes for the first time.

Both sides enjoyed spells of possession in the early exchanges but it was Bolton who got themselves off to the perfect start. Just seven minutes in, Clough lined up a free-kick 25 yards from goal and picked out the top corner with ease, leaving Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall rooted to the spot.

Wanderers almost doubled their lead moments later, with Derik Osede forcing Marshall into a reaction save from a corner, before play was halted to allow Darren Pratley to receive treatment following a clash of heads.

The hosts' first chance arrived on the quarter-hour, but Stuart O'Keefe's volley bounced into the ground and kindly into the arms of Ben Amos, while Oscar Threlkeld was required to deny Zohore a clear run on goal from the next attack.

Sean Morrison entered the book for a late challenge on Threlkeld with 30 minutes played, but the referee was to issue a card of a different colour just seconds later as Maher stormed into an aerial challenge with Craig Noone and was given his marching orders for an apparent elbow.

Maher's dismissal forced Phillips into a change, as Pratley's earlier blow to the head saw him replaced by a debuing Garratt. David Wheater took over the captaincy.

From that point on, it was a case of backs against the wall for Bolton, who managed to keep hold of their lead going into the break thanks to a good stop from Amos, who sprung to his right to parry away a wicked strike from Noone.

There was one change at the start of the second period, as Cardiff introduced Sammy Ameobi in place of Joe Ralls.

Wanderers started the half on top and should have doubled their lead within seven minutes of the restart, but Marshall got down quickly to parry a goalbound shot from Clough behind for a corner after he had latched on to a through ball from Emile Heskey.

The same duo combined once again shortly afterwards, with Clough this time shooting wide, with those misses coming back to haunt the visitors when Cardiff equalised just 60 seconds later.

Hesitant defending allowed Zohore to escape the attention of Rob Holding as he entered the Bolton box and his low shot found a way through the legs of Amos to bring the scores level at 1-1.

Wanderers should have restored their lead almost immediately, as Kaiyne Woolery, just on as a substitute for Heskey, raced away down the right-hand side before seeing a weak effort saved in a one-on-one situation. by Marshall.

An outstanding challenge from Holding prevented Zohore from going clean through at the other end, shortly before Ameobi brought a smart stop out of Amos from a narrow angle, as the home side looked to press their numerical advantage.

Ameobi and Noone were both denied as the game entered the final 20 minutes, but it was Bolton who looked the more likely winners in the latter stages as Woolery and then Clough were both denied by expert goalkeeping from Marshall.

Those missed opportunities once again proved to be Wanderers' downfall as, in the fourth added minute for stoppages, Cardiff were awarded a penalty as Noone was brought down by a sliding challenge from Garratt inside the box.

Whittingham took responsibility for the spot-kick and found the corner, sealing a victory that keeps City's faint play-off hopes alive and consigned Bolton to a record-equaling 25th league defeat of the season.

Wanderers return to action next Saturday, when they finish their home campaign with a clash against Hull City in front of the watching Sky Sports television cameras.

Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier, Morrison, Connolly (Harris 80), Malone, Noone, O'Keefe, Ralls (Ameobi 46), Whittingham, Pilkington, Zohore (Lawrence 66)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Dikgacoi, Moore, Saadi
Booked: Morrison
Goals: Zohore 55, Whittingham 90+4(pen)

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Threlkeld, Holding, Wheater, Maher, Osede, Danns, Vela, Pratley (Garrett 34), Clough, Heskey (Woolery 58)
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Dobbie, Finney, Thomas, Walker
Sent Off: Maher
Goals: Clough 7

Referee: Lee Collins
Attendance: 24,189

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
6 Cambridge United 3 6
7 Derby County 3 6
8 Bolton Wanderers 3 5
9 Portsmouth 3 5
10 Accrington Stanley 3 5
View Full Standings >>


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