Fleetwood Town 2-4 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 11, 2017 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/39b44

Bolton ended their four-month wait for an away win in spectacular style, beating promotion rivals Fleetwood Town 4-2 at Highbury Stadium.

Prior to kick-off, Wanderers hadn't won on the road since November's success at Northampton Town. With Fleetwood unbeaten in league competition on home soil since September, combined with the Trotters' recent dip in form, Phil Parkinson's side were in serious danger of dropping out of the battle for automatic promotion.

They responded in outstanding fashion, however, with strikes from Adam Le Fondre and David Wheater putting them two-up inside 20 minutes. Kyle Dempsey made it 2-1 shortly afterwards, but Bolton restored their two-goal advantage three minutes after the break through Mark Beevers.

Le Fondre added his second, and Wanderers' fourth, with 12 minutes remaining and despite a late consolation from Bobby Grant, Fleetwood were well beaten as their gap over Bolton in the League One table was cut to just one point.

Parkinson made one change to the Bolton side that started against AFC Wimbledon last time out, as Darren Pratley returned from a seven-month absence through injury in place of Tom Thorpe, who dropped out of the squad completely.

Another interesting name on the Wanderers teamsheet was Jem Karacan, who took up a place amongst the substitutes after joining the club on a short-term deal from Galatasaray.

After a slow start to events at Highbury, where neither side managed to create any opportunities inside the opening quarter-hour, the game suddenly burst into life on 17 minutes when a looping cross from Le Fondre caught out Alex Cairns in the Fleetwood goal and somehow found a way into the back of the net.

The visitors doubled their advantage three minutes later, as an expert free-kick from Morais found Wheater at the far post, who got his boot to the ball to poke through the legs of Cairns and make the score 2-0.

A crazy five-minute spell continued as Fleetwood got themselves back in the match within two minutes. This time, Dempsey took advantage of a slip from Derik Osede before curling past Ben Alnwick from distance to reduce the deficit back to one.

Bolton then had two chances to extend their lead, with Le Fondre the first to be denied by some last-ditch defending as he looked to get on the end of a cross from Josh Vela, before Gary Madine headed narrowly over the crossbar from the resulting corner.

Victor Nirennold had a strike charged down and Conor McLaughlin shot over as the hosts looked to restore parity, but Wanderers continued to look threatening at the other end and would have added to their advantage had Wheater not been denied a second by the post.

Madine had a header tipped over by Cairns in the latter stages of the half, as Parkinson's side went in at the interval with a deserved 2-1 lead.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Bolton restoring their two-goal advantage.

Once again, Morais stood over a set-piece and his delivery was pin-point, picking out the run of an unmarked Beevers at the far post, who stuck out a leg to poke past Cairns from close range to make it 3-1 to the visitors.

Cairns then suffered a rush of blood to the head and almost cost his side another goal, racing out of his penalty area to take the ball away from Le Fondre but seeing his clearance fall straight at the feet of Morais. The in-form winger decided to take aim at goal from 40 yards, with his effort bouncing inches wide of the empty target.

The Fleetwood goalkeeper made up for his mistake by keeping out a stinging drive from Vela on the hour, shortly before Wheater was denied a second by an assistant's flag for an apparent foul in the build-up.

Ashley Hunter fired over from the edge of the Wanderers box as Fleetwood looked to make the final 20 minutes interesting for the home supporters, but they were soon put out of their misery when Le Fondre made it four for the away side, heading past Cairns from yet another superb Morais delivery.

With three assists to his name, Morais then looked to get his first Bolton goal, shooting just wide with 10 minutes remaining, while Hunter brought Alnwick into a comfortable stop at the other end.

Grant pulled one back for Fleetwood with three minutes to play, making the score 4-2 to Wanderers, but the Cod Army were unable to force any further attacks and were beaten for the first time in 19 league outings - as Bolton picked up their first away win since November.

The result, combined with Scunthorpe United's defeat at Gillingham, sees Bolton move up to 3rd in League One. They sit one place and one point behind Fleetwood, whilst also having a game in hand over their rivals.

Parkinson's side return to action on Tuesday, when they look to avoid falling into the same trap as Scunthorpe as they make the trip to Gillingham.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Eastham, Bolger, Davies, Nirennold (Glendon 51), Dempsey, McLaughlin, Grant, Bell (Brannagan 71), Ball, Cole (Hunter 44)
Subs Not Used: Neal, Ekpolo, Schwabl, Maguire
Goals: Dempsey 22, Grant 87

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Beevers, Wheater, Dervite, A Taylor, Osede, Pratley (Karacan 80), Vela (Trotter 82), Morais, Le Fondre, Madine
Subs Not Used: Howard, Moxey, Solomon-Otabor, Clayton, Henry
Booked: Wheater
Goals: Le Fondre 17,78, Wheater 20, Beevers 48

Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 5,123

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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