Brentford 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 22, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/e1ecd

Bolton will spend Christmas Day in the Championship relegation zone, after Neal Maupay scored the only goal in defeat to Brentford.

Maupay netted in the 62nd minute at Griffin Park, firing high into the roof of the Wanderers net after Said Benrahma had directed a clearance from David Wheater back into the penalty area.

The Trotters once again struggled to impose themselves in the final third, rarely providing an attacking threat, but came close to equalising in the final minute when goalkeeper Ben Alnwick headed inches wide after going forward for a corner.

Phil Parkinson made four changes to the Bolton side that started in defeat to Leeds United last time out, with Christian Doidge, Gary O'Neil, Sammy Ameobi and Marc Wilson coming in at the expense of Josh Magennis, Joe Williams, Craig Noone and Josh Vela.

Both sides went into the game in desperate need of victory and it was the hosts who began the stronger, with Maupay and Ollie Watkins both firing shots off target inside the opening two minutes.

Benrahma was next to try his luck for Brentford, getting the better of Will Buckley before seeing a strike parried to safety by Alnwick.

Wanderers' first chance of the afternoon arrived with 12 minutes on the clock, with Wilson seeing a speculative 30-yard effort fly well wide of the goal, moments before Jason Lowe collected his 8th yellow card of the season for a challenge on Julian Jeanvier.

Kamohelo Mokotjo saw a strike deflect behind off the legs of Wheater as the half approached it's midway point, while Moses Odubajo brought a smothering save out of Alnwick after he had been played in by Mokotjo.

O'Neil came close to breaking the deadlock for the visitors on the half-hour, latching on to a cross from Andrew Taylor before seeing a shot bounce behind off the body of an onrushing defender.

Ameobi shot straight at Daniel Bentley from the next attack before Benrahma did the same at the other end, with Alnwick making a routine stop down low.

After Chris Mepham had gone into the referee's book for a lunge on O'Neil, Ameobi wasted the chance to punish the Bees further when his free-kick flew high into the stands.

Romaine Sawyers dragged an attempt wide of the target, while Pawel Olkowski did the same at the other end as the half drew to a close with the sides level at 0-0.

There were no changes to either side as the players returned for the second period, which started with Maupay hitting a shot over crossbar after he had latched on to a cutback from Benrahma.

Benrahma had an attempt on goal himself moments later, with his cross-cum-shot forcing Alnwick into action, before Maupay got his angles all wrong when he fired high and wide on the hour.

Maupay made amends for his miss just two minutes later though, latching on to a pass from Benrahma before finding the top corner of Alnwick's net with a first-time effort.

That prompted Wanderers boss Parkinson into an attacking change, introducing Noone in place of Olkowski, but the switch made little difference to events on the pitch.

Benrahma was still proving to be the game's biggest threat and he saw a free-kick deflect behind with 15 minutes to play, shortly before Magennis was brought on for Buckley and Clayton Donaldson in place of Doidge.

Bolton stepped up the pressure in the latter stages and came close to drawing level when Noone shot across the face of goal and narrowly wide with two minutes remaining, while Alnwick - up for a corner - came within a matter of inches of an equaliser when his looping header from a Noone cross sailed agonisingly wide of Daniel Bentley's goal.

Defeat means Wanderers will lie 23rd on Christmas Day, occupying a relegation place for the third campaign in-a-row at this level.

They return to action on Boxing Day, when they host fellow strugglers Rotherham United at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Brentford: Bentley, Odubajo, Konsa, Jeanvier, Mepham (Barbet 69), Henry, Watkins (Canos 88), Sawyers, Mokotjo, Benrahma (Judge 80), Maupay
Subs Not Used: Daniels, McEachran, Da Silva, Dalsgaard
Booked: Mepham
Goals: Maupay 62

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor, Hobbs, Wheater, Olkowski (Noone 69), Lowe, Wilson, O'Neil, Buckley (Magennis 76), Ameobi, Doidge (Donaldson 82)
Subs Not Used: Matthews, Beevers, Vela, Grounds
Booked: Lowe, Wheater, Hobbs

Referee: James Linington
Attendance: 10,512

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Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Millwall 37 37
21 Reading 38 37
22 Rotherham United 38 36
23 Bolton Wanderers 38 29
24 Ipswich Town 38 24
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2017/18 Player of the Year?
53.85% Ben Alnwick
13.11% Sammy Ameobi
10.49% Karl Henry
8.39% Antonee Robinson
4.98% David Wheater
3.41% Mark Beevers
2.1% Mark Little
1.84% Josh Vela
1.57% Darren Pratley
0.26% Reece Burke