Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Cardiff City

  • December 23, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton kicked off their Christmas schedule with three points, as they beat promotion-chasing Cardiff City 2-0 at Macron Stadium.

In a game which saw little in terms of goalmouth activity, Wanderers sealed the win with the only shots on target in the entire 90 minutes - for either side.

The first arrived with 15 minutes to play, with Gary Madine firing home from the penalty spot after Sol Bamba was adjudged to have handled inside his own area, before the forward turned provider on 88 minutes by squaring for Josh Vela to tap into an empty net.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats with a 1-0 reversal at home to Burton Albion last time out, manager Phil Parkinson made two changes to his starting line-up as both Andrew Taylor and Mark Little returned at the expense of Antonee Robinson and Stephen Darby.

The first chance of the afternoon arrived with 11 minutes on the clock, with Sammy Ameobi, up against his former employers, shooting into the waiting arms of Neil Etheridge from 25 yards.

Little was next to try his luck for the hosts, latching on to a knockdown from Madine before shooting wide from an unfamiliar left-wing position, shortly before the visitors thought they had taken the lead in controversial circumstances.

Junior Hoilett tapped the ball into an empty net from close range before wheeling away to celebrate, seemingly in disbelief that his effort had been allowed to stand. However, a microphone conversation between referee Darren Bond and his assistant saw the goal ruled out, with the offside flag eventually being raised.

That proved to be the last noteworthy moment of the half, after which the sides went in goalless. They emerged unchanged for the start of the second 45 minutes, but it wasn't until soon after the hour that the game seemed to spark back into life.

With 65 minutes gone, David Wheater lined up a shot from 25 yards. His powerful drive appeared goalbound, but for the intervention of Bamba's head, moments before Little saw half-hearted appeals for a penalty turned down when he received a slight nudge in the back.

Cardiff's first major chance of the afternoon arrived with 20 minutes to play, but neither Bamba or Joe Ralls could connect with a corner at the far post.

Ameobi worked his way past Lee Peltier and Bruno Ecuele Manga before forcing a corner on 74 minutes, from which Wheater's header struck the hand of Bamba and a penalty kick was given.

Madine took responsibility from 12 yards and made no mistake with a powerful strike which nestled in the bottom corner of Etheridge's goal to break the deadlock.

Wanderers came close to doubling their lead from the next attack, but Darren Pratley couldn't quite get enough contact on Ameobi's cross-cum-shot to flick it beyond Etheridge.

The points were sealed with two minutes of normal time to play, though, as neat work from both Madine and Craig Noone finished with the former squaring for Vela, who stroked the ball home from close range.

Bolton remain in 23rd position despite their win, but remain in the mix in the battle to avoid the drop - level on points with Sunderland, one behind Burton Albion and two behind Barnsley, who will spend Christmas in 20th place.

Wanderers return to action on Boxing Day, when they face Play-Off chasing Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor, Beevers, Wheater, Little, Pratley, Henry, Vela, Buckley (Noone 60), Ameobi, Madine (Wilbraham 90+3)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Robinson, Cullen, Armstrong, Burke
Booked: Pratley, Henry, Madine
Goals: Madine 75(pen), Vela 88

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Manga, Bamba, Bennett, Halford, Mendez-Laing, Damour (Tomlin 78 (Feeney 90+4)), Ralls, Hoilett, Bogle (Zohore 66)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Pilkington, Connolly, Paterson
Booked: Damour, Peltier, Manga, Halford

Referee: Darren Bond
Attendance: 15,344

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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