Bolton Wanderers 4-0 Gillingham

  • December 12, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Bolton beat Gillingham 4-0 to move back into the automatic promotion places and to within a point of Scunthorpe United at the top of the League One table.

Wanderers, at home in front of the television cameras for the first time this season, took just 14 minutes to break the deadlock, as Gary Madine rose highest to head past Stuart Nelson following an outstanding individual run from Zach Clough.

Clough turned provider once again just before the half-hour, running away from goal before flicking the ball into the path of Josh Vela, who kept his composure to slot home.

Madine doubled his tally for the evening on 65 minutes, heading past Nelson from a Jay Spearing free-kick, before Sammy Ameobi completed the rout with a stunning long-range strike that rocketed into the top corner with 10 minutes remaining.

Phil Parkinson opted to stick with the same side that started the FA Cup victory over Sheffield United eight days prior, putting his faith in the team that scored three times against the Blades.

The first chance of the game fell the way of Wanderers and it was Madine, who was on the scoresheet in that FA Cup tie, who dragged an effort wide from 25 yards.

Vela was next to try his luck for the hosts, getting on the end of a knockdown from Clough before volleying narrowly wide of the far post.

Bolton's early dominance was rewarded on 14 minutes though, as they broke the deadlock in spectacular style.

Quick feet from Clough allowed him to break away from three Gillingham players on halfway. He spread the play out wide to Vela, whose cross picked out Madine in the centre and he expertly headed past Nelson.

Supporters of both clubs rose to their feet and lit up the Macron on 18 minutes, as they paid tribute to Brian Ward, a behind-the-scenes employee who had served on the club's staff for the last 18 years.

Switching focus back to the pitch, Vela came close to doubling the advantage with a volley that flashed inches wide of the post, before Clough spurned a glorious chance by shooting straight at the goalkeeper after being put in the clear by Ameobi.

Wanderers didn't have to wait much longer before it was 2-0, however, as Vela played a scintillating one-two with Clough, who made use of a backheel, before rolling the ball past Nelson to cap a fine goal.

Clough thought he had added a third before the break, only to see his strike ruled out for offside after Ameobi had seen a shot saved, but Bolton took their two-goal advantage into the interval as they cruised towards three points.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Jake Hessenthaler heading wide of Ben Alnwick's goal as Gillingham looked for an early response and a way back into the game.

After a brief lull in events, Spearing checked to see if Nelson was still awake with a fierce drive just after the hour. The Gills 'keeper made a hash of the save, parrying with his arm, but Madine failed to capitalise on the mistake by rolling the rebound wide of the target.

Madine made up for his miss just two minutes later, though, as he escaped the attention of his marker to meet a free-kick from Spearing and head his second of the game to make it 3-0 to the hosts.

Chris Taylor was brought on in place of Clough for the final 22 minutes and he almost made an instant impact, running on to a pass from Vela before seeing a low shot saved by the legs of Nelson.

Madine headed over from the resulting corner as he went in search of a hat-trick. But it wasn't to be the end of Bolton's goalscoring exploits for the evening, as Ameobi raised the roof with 10 minutes to go.

Afforded too much time on the right, the on-loan Newcastle United winger cut inside onto his favoured left foot and unleashed an unstoppable piledriver which found the top corner - making the score 4-0 to Bolton.

Ameobi was granted a standing ovation as he was replaced by James Henry on 83 minutes, while Keshi Anderson also came on for Vela as the clock ticked towards stoppage time.

Appeals for a penalty went unheard when Anderson was bundled to the ground shortly afterwards, but referee Scott Duncan wasn't interested in the claims as Bolton were made to settle for four in a resounding win that puts them back into 2nd place in the League One table.

Wanderers return to action on Saturday, knowing victory, combined with Scunthorpe United failing to beat Millwall, will see them move to the top of the table ahead of Christmas Day.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Wilson, Wheater, Beevers, A Taylor, Spearing, Thorpe, Vela (Anderson 88), Ameobi (Henry 83), Madine, Clough (C Taylor 68)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Moxey, Proctor, Osede
Goals: Madine 14,65, Vela 28, Ameobi 80

Gillingham: Nelson, Wagstaff, Ehmer, Cargill, Konchesky, Emmanuel-Thomas (Donnelly 84), Wright, Hessenthaler, Dack (Byrne 88), Nouble (Jackson 60), McDonald
Subs Not Used: Hadler, Oshilaja, Cundle, Stevenson
Booked: Wright

Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 13,861

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 >>


Who is Bolton's 2021/22 Player of the Year?
32.58% Oladapo Afolayan
30.96% Gethin Jones
21.72% Ricardo Almeida Santos
5.51% Declan John
4.05% Kieran Lee
3.08% MJ Williams
1.78% Joel Dixon
0.32% George Johnston