Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Port Vale

  • October 29, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton recorded a sixth successive victory in all competitions, as Zach Clough, Josh Vela and Lawrie Wilson netted in a 3-1 win over Port Vale.

Not since 2005 had a Wanderers side been in such fine form and they had the points wrapped up inside 16 minutes at Macron Stadium, with Clough and Vela striking early to put the hosts in control, before Wilson volleyed home an outstanding strike from distance to effectively kill the game as a contest.

Phil Parkinson's side were on the verge of glory, with a sixth consecutive win without conceding firmly in their sights for only the second time in club history, but Horwich-born defender Sam Hart ended that with 15 minutes to play by bundling home from a corner.

Bolton were full value for their latest win, however, and enter a two-week break from league action in 2nd place - three points behind leaders Scunthorpe United - having surpassed their points tally from the entire of last season.

Parkinson initially named an unchanged team from the one that started at Bury on Monday, but was forced into a late alteration when Jay Spearing suffered a recurrence of a thigh injury in the warm-up. Liam Trotter came in at his expense, with Alex Perry taking up a place amongst the substitutes.

The hosts started brightly at Macron Stadium and could have been ahead inside three minutes, but Jak Alnwick, brother of Wanderers goalkeeper Ben, made a good save to his right to keep out a curling strike from Sammy Ameobi.

The ball was in the net moments later, though, and it arrived in spectacular fashion. After receiving the ball 40 yards from goal, Clough saw space in front of him, ran at the Vale defence before picking out the top corner to end Bolton's long wait for a goal from open play.

That lead was doubled four minutes later, with yet another academy graduate getting himself on the scoresheet.

Ameobi's low cross from the right caused panic in the Port Vale backline and after Alnwick parried the ball back into dangerous territory, Vela was alert to the threat and prodded into an empty net from close range.

Bolton supporters, bouncing from their team's early advantage, were back on their feet again just after the quarter-hour as they celebrated for a third time.

After a corner had appeared to have been cleared to safety, Wilson took aim from 30 yards and sent an unstoppable first-time volley into the top corner via the aid of a minor deflection to make it 3-0.

Ryan Taylor was the first player to have his name taken as the visitors became increasingly frustrated, before Vela joined him moments later for a cynical challenge just inside his own half.

Port Vale's first shot arrived with 20 minutes on the clock, but Mark Howard got down comfortably to collect a goalbound effort from Hart, before events settled down as both sides enjoyed spells in possession without causing a threat.

That was until the 35th minute, when Gary Madine's chipped effort, destined for the top corner, was expertly tipped away by Alnwick, who made another save from the resulting corner to keep out a header from David Wheater.

Bolton had one last chance to extend their lead before the break, but Clough couldn't quite stretch enough to connect with a drilled cross from Wilson - meaning the half-time score remained at 3-0.

Understandably, there were no changes to the Wanderers side that emerged for the start of the second period. Port Vale did make one change, however, with Anthony de Freitas coming on in place of Jerome Thomas.

The home side began the half as they had finished the first, dominant in the final third and only looking likely to add to their goal tally. The fact that they didn't was, in part, down to the heroics of Alnwick, with poor finishing also taking a share of the blame.

After seeing a long-range strike kept out by the desperate dive of Alnwick, Madine looked certain to score with his next attempt but somehow headed wide from six yards after finding himself on the end of a cross from Vela.

Vela was next to have a shot, only to see it charged down by Taylor, before Vale were denied a consolation as Howard kept his concentration to make a stunning reflex save to keep out Sam Kelly's point-blank header.

Madine's quest to find the net continued at the midway point of the half, but, once again, he failed to convert after sliding in ahead of his marker, before Wanderers' hunt for a sixth successive clean sheet came to an end.

Bolton failed to deal with a routine corner into their box from Taylor, allowing Hart to steal in at the far post to head home from almost on the line.

Two substitutions broke up play, as Chris Taylor and James Henry came on for Ameobi and the injured Vela, but the action was far from over, as Howard got down well to keep out a goalbound header from Vale substitute de Freitas.

Henry brought Alnwick into action with a low drive inside three added minutes for stoppages, but there was to be no further goals at the Macron, as Parkinson's side made it six wins in-a-row - an achievement last matched by Sam Allardyce's UEFA Cup qualifiers of 2005.

Bolton now take a two-week break from league competition, with an FA Cup tie at home to Grimsby Town next Saturday closely followed by a Checkatrade Trophy fixture at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday week.

Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Wilson, Wheater, Beevers, A Taylor, Osede, Trotter, Ameobi (Henry 83), Vela (C Taylor 75), Clough, Madine
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Buxton, Proctor, Anderson, Perry
Booked: Vela, Ameobi
Goals: Clough 7, Vela 11, Wilson 16

Port Vale: Alnwick, Hart, Streete, Smith, Knops, Thomas (de Freitas 46), Tavares, Grant, Taylor, Kelly (Mbamba 85), Cicilia (Paterson 58)
Subs Not Used: Santos, Mac-Intosch, Pereira, Amoros
Booked: Taylor, Cicilia
Goals: Hart 75

Referee: Nigel Miller
Attendance: 13,937

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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