Port Vale 0-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 22, 2017 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/a728a

Bolton are likely just one point away from a Championship return, after they beat 10-man Port Vale 2-0 at Vale Park.

Having gone 336 minutes without a goal since netting a stoppage-time winner at Southend United on April 4, Wanderers broke the deadlock midway through the second period when David Wheater rose highest to nod a Filipe Morais free-kick past Deniz Mehmet.

That goal sparked wild scenes amongst the away support and prompted followers of both clubs on to the field, leading referee Carl Boyeson to lead the teams into the tunnel for upwards of 10 minutes.

With police and stewards giving the official the go-ahead for players to return, Wanderers sealed the victory on 82 minutes when Madine got on the end of a low cross from Morais to slot home.

The win at Vale Park leaves Bolton two points clear of 3rd-placed Fleetwood Town in the League One table, meaning a point on the final, barring an eight-goal swing, would see them return to the Championship at the first attempt.

In response to Tuesday's goalless draw at home to Bury, Phil Parkinson made two changes to his Bolton side - as Jem Karacan and Gary Madine came in at the expense of Derik Osede, who dropped to the substitutes' bench, and Darren Pratley, who missed out through injury.

After a quiet start to events at Vale Park, the first chance arrived on 11 minutes when Nathan Smith headed wide of Mark Howard's goal.

The action was briefly halted whilst stewards chased a supporter who had ran onto the pitch, after which Madine had Wanderers' first shooting chance - firing high over the crossbar as he looked to find his range following three matches on the sidelines.

Vale were back on the attack midway through the half, with Sam Foley volleying wide from a Jerome Thomas cross, moments before Andrew Taylor, in unfamiliar territory, failed to connect with Adam Le Fondre's ball into the opposition box.

Then, with 33 minutes on the clock, the hosts were reduced to 10 men as Rigino Cicilia, booked just minutes earlier, was shown a second yellow card for a deliberate handball as he looked to break the deadlock.

That gave Bolton a momentary boost, with Le Fondre and Josh Vela both seeing efforts come and go, but neither side could find a breakthrough before the interval, as the half-time whistle went with the sides goalless.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Vale striking the post as Thomas' half-volley from the edge of the box had Howard beaten.

The hosts came close again when Danny Pugh drilled inches wide from 30 yards just two minutes later, before Bolton had two separate penalty appeals turned down - first after Le Fondre had gone to ground, then after the ball appeared to strike a hand inside the Port Vale box.

Wheater headed over from a Morais corner as the visitors looked to increase the pressure, while former Wanderers player Chris Eagles fired over the top as the clock ticked past the hour.

Then, with 66 minutes gone, pandemonium hit the away end as a free-kick from Morais was headed past Mehmet by Wheater, sparking a pitch invasion which, unfortunately, also gathered the attention of the home fans.

With safety paramount, the referee took players of both clubs into the tunnel to await further instruction from the authorities.

After 10 minutes waiting for the go-ahead, play resumed with Eagles bringing Howard into a smart save with another effort from the edge of the box.

Bolton came close to doubling their lead on 82 minutes as Mark Beevers rose highest to meet another corner from Morais. Mehmet was beaten, but turned around to see Ryan Taylor hack the ball off the line.

The ball was in the net from the next attack though, as Morais, once again the provider, whipped in a low cross which gave Madine the simple task of slotting past Mehmet from close range.

Port Vale briefly threatened a comeback when Howard tipped a Gezim Shalaj shot onto the crossbar in the final minute of normal time, but the result was a foregone conclusion by that stage as Bolton saw out the clock to surely move to within a point of promotion.

Parkinson's side will look to finish the job next Sunday, when they host Peterborough United at Macron Stadium.

Port Vale: Mehmet, Taylor, Bikey, Smith, Tanser, Eagles (Shalaj 85), Foley, Pugh, Thomas (Reeves 84), Turner (Hooper 60), Cicilia
Subs Not Used: Fasan, Streete, Kiko, de Freitas
Booked: Cecilia, Bikey
Sent Off: Cecilia

Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Beevers, Wheater, Dervite, A Taylor, Spearing (Osede 87), Karacan (Henry 60), Vela, Morais, Le Fondre, Madine (Wilkinson 90+4)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Moxey, Solomon-Otabor, Long
Booked: Madine, Spearing
Goals: Wheater 66, Madine 82

Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 8,890

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone