Chesterfield 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 17, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Liam O'Neil scored the only goal, as Bolton's five-match winning run came to an end with defeat at Chesterfield.

O'Neil's decisive strike arrived in the 26th minute at the Proact Stadium, as he pounced on a cross from Gboly Ariyibi before firing the ball into the roof of the Wanderers net.

Bolton matched their hosts in terms of chances created but were wasteful in front of goal, rarely looking like drawing level, as they crashed to a surprise defeat that keeps them in 3rd place as a result of Sheffield United's win at Coventry City on Thursday evening.

Following high-scoring victories over both Sheffield United and Gillingham over the course of the last fortnight, Phil Parkinson opted to stick with an unchanged starting line-up for the third match in succession, as Wanderers looked to top the league table at Christmas for the first time since 1977.

They started on the front foot, with Sammy Ameobi forcing Lloyd Allinson into an early save, but Chesterfield were also in the attacking mood and came close when Ariyibi dragged an effort wide of Ben Alnwick's post shortly afterwards.

Allinson was called into action again midway through the half, with Zach Clough hitting the target with a free-kick, but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock, against the run of play, as O'Neil found the net on 26 minutes.

Bolton, a man down as a result of treatment to left-back Andrew Taylor, failed to deal with a routine ball into the penalty area from Ariyibi and O'Neil picked out the roof of the net with an outstanding strike from a narrow angle.

The visitors were stunned and that allowed the Spireites to go in search of a second, which almost arrived when Ched Evans' shot was deflected behind at the end of a well-worked free-kick routine.

Ariyibi, who was seeing plenty of the ball, fired wide once again on 37 minutes, moments before Allinson made the best save of the half to deny Gary Madine on two separate occasions.

If that wasn't spectacular enough, Allinson topped that with another fine stop in the closing stages of the half, saving in a one-on-one situation from Clough, while David Wheater prodded over in added time as Bolton went in at the break trailing 1-0.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which began with Bolton seeing plenty of possession. It was Chesterfield who created the first shooting chance, however, with Jay O'Shea seeing a shot whistle inches wide of the post with Alnwick seemingly a beaten man.

Wanderers were temporarily reduced to ten men as Clough required treatment to a bloodied nose on the hour, during which time the visitors forced Allinson into a save as Ameobi tried his luck from 30 yards.

Back in the action, Clough was next to have an attempt on goal - lashing over from a narrow angle, before Parkinson made his first move from the substitutes' bench as the more attacking option of Chris Taylor came on for defensive midfielder Tom Thorpe.

Ameobi twice came close to providing Bolton with an equaliser as the clock ticked into the final 15 minutes, first firing over the top from the edge of the box after he had cut in from the right flank, moments before seeing a thunderous drive fly agonisingly wide of Allinson's far post.

Wheater and Josh Vela went in the referee's book as frustration began to grow in the latter stages, prior to a double chance which brought Keshi Anderson and Jamie Proctor into the action for four minutes of added time.

Neither of those managed to get into the action but Wanderers did still have a chance to claim a point. Unfortunately, it fell the way of captain Jay Spearing, whose volley from the penalty spot flew aimlessly over the crossbar as his side crashed to defeat.

The loss means Bolton remain in 3rd position ahead of a festive double at Macron Stadium. They play host to Shrewsbury Town on Boxing Day, looking to secure a ninth successive home victory in all competitions, before ending the calendar year by hosting league leaders Scunthorpe United.

Chesterfield: Allinson, Liddle, Evatt, Anderson, Hird, O'Neil, Dimaio, O'Shea, Donohue, Evans, Ariyibi
Subs Not Used: Parkin, Gardner, Mitchell, Dennis, Simons, Beesley, Morrison
Booked: Evans
Goals: O'Neil 26

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor, Beevers, Wheater, Wilson (Proctor 89), Spearing, Thorpe (C Taylor 73), Ameobi, Vela, Clough (Anderson 89), Madine
Subs Not Used: Turner, Moxey, Osede, Henry
Booked: A Taylor, Wheater, Vela

Referee: Mark Haywood
Attendance: 6,924

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
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