Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Coventry City

  • November 22, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Zach Clough scored the only goal as Bolton beat Coventry City to keep touch with Scunthorpe United and Sheffield United at the top of League One.

Clough netted with just 11 minutes on the clock at Macron Stadium, latching on to a long-ball from Ben Alnwick before looping the ball over the head of Lee Burge to hand Wanderers all three points for the fourth home match in succession.

The win keeps Phil Parkinson's side in 3rd place in the league table, six points behind leaders Scunthorpe, while Sheffield United have a minor advantage by virtue of goal difference after a last-gasp win over Bury.

Parkinson made one change to the side that started the weekend victory over Millwall, as Tom Thorpe came in at the expense of the suspended Liam Trotter.

Wanderers raced out of the starting blocks in their first game under the Macron floodlights this season, and they came close to breaking the deadlock inside two minutes as a teasing cross from Gary Madine had to be tipped behind by Burge.

Burge made another save from the next attack, keeping out a deflected strike from Clough, before making an outstanding stop to deny Madine from six yards after he had got on the end of a cutback from Josh Vela.

The Coventry goalkeeper's early display was sensational, but he was beaten with little over 10 minutes played. A long clearance from his Bolton counterpart, Alnwick, brought a moment of hesitation in the City defence. Clough gambled on a mistake and subsequently sent the ball up and over Burge, breaking the deadlock via the inside of the post.

Marvin Sordell, a £3.2million signing for Bolton in January 2012, was lining up against his former club for the first time and he looked set to break clear on the quarter-hour, only to be halted in his tracks by a perfectly-timed sliding challenge from Derik Osede.

Burge was called into action again as the half progressed, this time keeping out a long-range effort from Jay Spearing on 26 minutes, while Alnwick was forced into his first save of the evening when Kyel Reid took aim from 35 yards at the other end.

Bolton failed to double their lead when Madine scuffed a shot into the ground with 10 minutes of the half remaining, while Burge somehow made the stop as the ball fell kindly at the feet of Clough on the rebound.

Wanderers took their one-goal advantage into the break and emerged unchanged for the start of the second period, as did their visitors.

The half began with a much slower tempo than the first, with Alnwick getting down to make a comfortable save from Lewis Page the best the game had to offer prior to the hour.

It was when the clock reached the 60-minute mark that the match came back to life, with Ameobi bursting through before bringing a full-stretch save out of Burge from the edge of the Coventry box.

Burge looked to be beaten moments later as a free-kick from Clough cleared the wall and looked set for the bottom corner, but the City stopper somehow got down to his right to make an outstanding one-handed parry before seeing the ball cleared to safety.

Wanderers took their foot off the gas in the final 20 minutes, though, and were almost punished when Jodi Jones brought a fine diving save out of Alnwick.

Ruben Lameiras was next to test the goalkeeping skills of Alnwick, who once again had to tip the ball over the crossbar, while Spearing came to his teammates' rescue by heading a goalbound effort from Jordan Turnbull off the line.

Ben Stevenson and Reid were next to be left frustrated by Reid, before Bolton spurned a glorious opportunity to seal the win with a breakaway that ended with James Henry curling just over the bar after a layoff from fellow substitute Chris Taylor.

Lameiras and Jamie Sterry wasted further chances as Coventry desperately tried to get themselves on level terms, shortly before Lawrie Wilson repeated the earlier heroics of Spearing by clearing off the line from a corner in the final minute of normal time.

Five minutes of time was added for stoppages by referee Sebastian Stockbridge, during which Wanderers expertly kept possession deep in City territory to see out the clock and claim a vital three points as their quest for automatic promotion continues.

Wanderers return to action on Saturday, when they travel to Northampton Town for the first time since February 1990.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor, Osede, Beevers, Wilson, Spearing, Thorpe, Vela, Ameobi (C Taylor 74), Madine (Proctor 90), Clough (Henry 73)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Buxton, Moxey, Anderson
Booked: Beevers
Goals: Clough 11

Coventry City: Burge, Sterry, Willis, Turnbull, Page, Stevenson, Harries (Lameiras 65), Bigirimana, Reid (McBean 84), Sordell, Agyei (Jones 65)
Subs Not Used: Charles-Cook, Gadzhev, Wright, Maycock
Booked: Sterry, Sordell

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Attendance: 12,290

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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