Sheffield United 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 30, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Gary Madine scored the only goal as Bolton ended a 999-day wait for a Championship away win with victory at Sheffield United.

Madine, once of Sheffield Wednesday and the obvious target for the Blades boo-boys, found the target with 21 minutes played at Bramall Lane, latching on to a cross from Antonee Robinson to slide home the winner.

United had their chances to equalise, with Leon Clarke wasting their best opportunity in second-half stoppage time, but it was Wanderers who took maximum points as they won on the road at this level for the first time in 38 attempts - dating back to April 6, 2015.

In a bid to freshen up his squad following Bolton's Boxing Day defeat at Middlesbrough, Phil Parkinson made five changes to his starting line-up as Robinson, Reece Burke, Josh Cullen, Filipe Morais and Adam Le Fondre took the places of Andrew Taylor, Mark Little, Josh Vela, Sammy Ameobi and Craig Noone.

After a quiet opening 10 minutes to the game, it was the home side who created the first shooting opportunity. It arrived with 17 minutes played as Mark Duffy worked his way into the Wanderers box before squaring to John Fleck, who couldn't direct his effort on target.

Then, with 21 minutes gone, pantomime villain Madine, who was controversially left out of this fixture last season, broke the deadlock in front of the Kop.

Latching on to a through ball from Le Fondre, Robinson broke free from Cameron Carter-Vickers before sending a low ball across the Blades box, where former Sheffield Wednesday forward Madine was on-hand to tap in from close range.

Lapping up the jeers from the home fans, Madine was at the forefront of the Wanderers attack again five minutes later and should have been awarded a penalty when he went to ground under a challenge from Carter-Vickers. Referee Steven Martin disagreed, however, and ordered play to continue.

The visitors continued to dominate in the final third and came close to doubling their advantage shortly before the half-hour. Robinson, again outstanding on the left-flank, crossed for Darren Pratley, whose knockdown to Le Fondre resulted in his goalbound strike being blocked.

United boss Chris Wilder then made a change, bringing George Baldock on for the struggling Carter-Vickers, and it almost paid immediate dividends as the substitute brought Bolton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick into action for the first time within moments of his introduction.

Alnwick was required once again before the break, this time denying Leon Clarke in a one-on-one situation, as Wanderers took their 1-0 lead into the half-time interval.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Madine having his name taken by the referee for an innocuous challenge on Richard Stearman.

Madine was involved again on 55 minutes, working his way beyond two United defenders before forcing Simon Moore into an awkward save at his near post, while Alnwick was at his best once again at the other end, this time denying Baldock with a reaction save down to his left soon after the hour.

With the clock dwindling down into the final 10 minutes, the Wanderers manager made two substitutions - bringing Vela and Adam Armstrong on in place of Le Fondre and Cullen, in addition to an earlier change with saw Little replace Morais.

There was little else to call, until the hosts were presented with a golden change to draw level in the third of six added minutes for stoppages.

Having stepped away from a challenge from Robinson, Baldock found space inside the Wanderers box before crossing low. With the goal at his mercy, the cross was just behind Clark, whose attempt to direct the ball into the empty net resulted in him putting it over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

That proved to be the final act, as Bolton ended their two-and-a-half year wait for an away win in the Championship, as they gave their survival hopes yet another boost.

Parkinson's side return to action on New Year's Day, when they begin 2018 at home to Hull City.

Sheffield United: Moore, Carter-Vickers (Baldock 31), Stearman (Carruthers 79), O'Connell, Basham, Lundstram, Duffy, Fleck, Stevens, Clarke, Sharp (Donaldson 61)
Subs Not Used: Blackman, Wright, Lavery, Lafferty
Booked: Fleck, Baldock

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Robinson, Beevers, Wheater, Burke, Pratley, Henry, Cullen (Vela 83), Morais (Little 65), Le Fondre (Armstrong 76), Madine
Subs Not Used: Turner, Buckley, Osede, Wilbraham
Booked: Robinson, Madine
Goals: Madine 21

Referee: Steven Martin
Attendance: 28,387

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 >>


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