Walsall 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 17, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/1d643

Bolton's unbeaten start to life in League One is over, after they lost 1-0 to Walsall in a controversial encounter at the Banks's Stadium.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men with just 16 minutes played, when Joe Edwards caught Chris Taylor with an elbow, but they were ahead just nine minutes later when Jason McCarthy pounced on a mix-up between Mark Howard and David Wheater to fire into an empty net.

Bolton looked more of a threat as the game progressed, but they were unable to find a breakthrough and also ended the match with 10 men, as substitute Keshi Anderson was dismissed for two laughable bookings that will rule him out of next weekend's fixture with Bradford City.

Phil Parkinson made two changes to the side that started against Milton Keynes Dons last time out, with Sammy Ameobi and Chris Taylor taking the places of Keshi Anderson and the suspended Jay Spearing.

Wheater was handed the captain's armband in Spearing's absence, while both Derik Osede and Zach Clough were named amongst the substitutes after recent hamstring issues.

After a slow start at the Banks's Stadium, it was Wanderers who created the first shooting opportunity of the game. It arrived on 10 minutes, but James Henry failed to direct his header on target after getting on the end of a cross from Chris Taylor.

The visitors came even closer moments later, with Taylor once again the provider. In this instance, his ball into the box found Jamie Proctor, whose header clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.

Walsall were then reduced to ten men, as a 50-50 tussle in midfield resulted in Taylor being flattened by the elbow of Edwards, leaving referee Trevor Kettle with little option but to brandish a red card.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts grew in confidence as the half went on and they went ahead on 25 minutes as McCarthy pounced on a mix-up between Howard and Wheater to poke the ball into an empty net from a free-kick.

Bolton responded immediately and were unfortunate not to get themselves back on level terms, as Lewis Buxton's header at the far post was cleared off the line.

Ameobi and Chris Taylor both failed to hit the target as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes of the half, while a first-time effort from Proctor had to be tipped behind by Neil Etheridge in the Walsall goal.

Mark Beevers headed wide from Henry's resulting corner, as referee Whistle called time on the opening 45 minutes with Wanderers trailing 1-0.

Parkinson responded to a disappointing first-half by making a tactical alteration at the start of the second period, as Clough came on in place of Buxton. That switch allowed Josh Vela to slot in at right-back, while Liam Trotter was moved into a deeper midfield role.

Clough's introduction provided a boost to the visitors and he fired a warning sign at the Walsall goal within seven minutes of the restart, shooting narrowly wide after linking up well with Ameobi.

After being a spectator for much of the opening hour, Walsall goalkeeper Etheridge was forced into his first real save of the afternoon when he was required to tip over a long-range effort from Chris Taylor.

Wheater headed wide from the resulting corner, shortly before Henry dragged a shot wide and Proctor headed behind as Wanderers looked to step things up a gear.

Chris Taylor was booked on the hour-mark as he appealed for a penalty that wasn't given on Proctor, seconds before Wheater was left wondering how he hadn't scored when his downward header was parried away by an outstanding Etheridge save.

A major talking point then arose, as Anderson, who was coming on as a substitute for Chris Taylor, was booked by referee Kettle. Despite seemingly receiving approval from the fourth official, Kettle took objection and booked the Crystal Palace loanee for entering the field of play without permission.

Bolton came close to drawing level once the ball had returned to play, but Clough couldn't provide the finish to a remarkable solo-run as he fired his shot into the side-netting.

Erhun Oztumer fired over in a rare Walsall attack on 70 minutes, but Wanderers were soon back in Saddlers territory and were thwarted by Etheridge once again, as he somehow got down low to push away a goalbound half-volley from Proctor, who had got himself on the end of a pin-point cross from Vela.

Etheridge was called into action again from the resulting corner, with Wheater left wondering what more he could do as his header was pushed away once more.

Ameobi had a volley charged down as five minutes of stoppage time were indicated, during which the visitors were reduced to ten men as Anderson, controversially booked earlier in the match, was shown a second yellow card for halting a Walsall counter-attack.

Wheater and Howard both joined the Bolton attack in the final minute, but neither could provide that elusive equaliser as Walsall took all three points and brought an end to the Trotters' unbeaten league start.

Wanderers drop to second following defeat at the Banks's Stadium, after being replaced at the summit of League One by Scunthorpe United. Parkinson's side return to action next Saturday, when they come up against his former club, Bradford City, at Macron Stadium.

Walsall: Etheridge, McCarthy, O'Connor, Toner, Laird, Edwards, Chambers, Makris (Bakayoko 64), Oztumer (Kinsella 90), Morris, Jackson
Subs Not Used: Dobson, MacGillivray, Preston, Kouhyar, Moussa
Booked: Etheridge
Sent Off: Edwards
Goals: McCarthy 25

Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Buxton (Clough 46), Beevers, Wheater, A Taylor (Moxey 85), Henry, Vela, Trotter, C Taylor (Anderson 65), Ameobi, Proctor
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Osede, Wilson, Thorpe
Booked: C Taylor, Anderson, Beevers, Moxey
Sent Off: Anderson

Referee: Trevor Kettle
Attendance: 5,962

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 AFC Wimbledon 5 1
21 Accrington Stanley 4 1
22 Southend United 5 0
23 Bolton Wanderers 4 -11
24 Bury 0 -12
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone