Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Scunthorpe United

  • December 31, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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James Henry came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner, as Bolton beat Scunthorpe United to move into the League One automatic promotion places.

Wanderers entered the weekend knowing they could end the year top of the division, but Sheffield United's victory over Northampton Town in the day's early kick-off meant the Trotters would have to settle for 2nd place at best.

They got off to the perfect start, when Josh Vela volleyed them ahead inside 17 minutes at Macron Stadium, but Scunthorpe improved as the half wore on and eventually drew level after the break, with Neal Bishop scoring from close range just after the hour.

The hosts lacked a goal threat for much of the second period but won the game in the fourth of six added minutes for stoppages, when Henry, who had earlier replaced Zach Clough, saw a deflected strike nestle in the bottom corner of Luke Daniels' net to spark wild scenes amongst the home support.

As has become common place at Bolton in recent times, Phil Parkinson opted to stick with the same team that began the Boxing Day win over Shrewsbury Town, as his side went in search of a tenth successive home success for the first time since Bruce Rioch's team of 1993.

Despite all the early optimism in the air, it was Scunthorpe who had the first chance of the game and it required a superb save from Ben Alnwick to tip away Paddy Madden's curling strike.

Wanderers' first chance arrived with 10 minutes played, but Clough snatched at his shot as his effort from the edge of the box was dragged wide of the target, shortly before Josh Morris, who played under Parkinson at Bradford City, failed to get his header on target after beating both David Wheater and Mark Beevers in the air.

The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes though, as Vela racked up his seventh of the season by pouncing on a knockdown from Gary Madine before volleying past Daniels from 25 yards.

It was role reversal from the next attack, with Vela this time turning provider, but Madine was thwarted at the last when he looked set to pull the trigger.

Scunthorpe supporters thought their side had pulled level midway through the half as the ball found its way into the net, but the referee's assistant had raised his flag for an offside as they attacked a bending free-kick from Morris.

Clough shot wide and Ameobi fired at Daniels as the half petered out, with Bolton taking their one-goal advantage into the break.

There were no changes as the players emerged for the start of the second-half, but the home side were forced into a switch just seven minutes after the restart when Derik Osede's services were called upon after injury cut short Lawrie Wilson's afternoon.

Scunthorpe won a succession of corners as the clock ticked towards the hour, but they were unable to force a way through - with Murray Wallace, Charlie Goode and Bishop all seeing goalbound headers cleared to safety.

Spearing entered the book for a late challenge on Bishop moments later. From the free-kick that followed, Alnwick produced arguably the save of the afternoon, tipping over a header from Wallace after he had risen to meet a cross from Morris.

Iron were level from the resulting corner, however, as Bishop was allowed time to turn inside the six-yard box and fire past a helpless Alnwick to make the score 1-1.

United smelt blood and had further goals in their sights. They were presented with that chance on 65 minutes, with Morris and Sam Mantom combining to tee up Paddy Madden, but his shot cleared the crossbar to the relief of the home supporters.

Bolton were back on the attack as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with Madine seeing a powerful drive blocked by the body of Goode, with referee Andy Madley turning down penalty appeals from the crowd, shortly before stronger appeals again went unheard when Clough took a tumble inside the box.

Spearing and Tom Thorpe both had efforts easily gathered by Daniels as both teams looked set to leave with a point, while Thorpe again came close when he headed wide from a Spearing corner in the final minute of normal time.

Bolton survived a major scare when a poor clearance from Alnwick fell kindly to Mantom in stoppage time, but his first-time shot was off-target and that afforded time for Wanderers to mount one last attack, one from which they secured victory.

With little in the way of support, Henry decided to take aim at goal from 25 yards. His effort looked comfortable for Daniels, but a wicked deflection off a defender took the ball away from the desperate dive of the Scunthorpe goalkeeper and into the back of the net to lift the roof off the Macron.

Bolton's latest win - their tenth in succession at home - sees them leapfrog Iron in the League One standings. They move up to 2nd in the division, one point ahead of Scunthorpe and just one behind the new leaders, Sheffield United.

Parkinson's side return to action on Monday, when they make the trip to the Ricoh Stadium, where they will provide the opposition for Coventry City.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Wilson (Osede 52), Wheater, Beevers, A Taylor, Spearing, Thorpe, Ameobi, Vela, Clough (Henry 83), Madine
Subs Not Used: Turner, Moxey, C Taylor, Anderson, Clayton
Booked: Spearing, Beevers, A Taylor
Goals: Vela 17, Henry 90+4

Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Clarke, Goode, Wallace, Toffolo, Adelakun (van Veen 79), Mantom, Bishop, Dawson, Morris, Madden (Hopper 90+3)
Subs Not Used: Holmes, Wiseman, Williams, Anyon, Smallwood
Booked: Dawson, Clarke, Mantom, van Veen
Goals: Bishop 62

Referee: Andy Madley
Attendance: 17,062

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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