Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Aston Villa

  • April 19, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's relegation to League One was confirmed on Good Friday, as they were beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Second-half goals from Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham helped Villa to a nine consecutive league victory - equalling a record which has stood since 1910 - while Wanderers slipped to a 27th league defeat of the campaign, which saw them set a new club record in the process.

It also proved to be the first time the Trotters had been relegated on home soil since 1996, when they dropped out of the Premier League following a 1-0 loss to Southampton at Burnden Park.

Phil Parkinson had spoken on Thursday about his desire to hand opportunities to players in the closing weeks of the season and he was true to his word, with Harry Brockbank a surprise inclusion as he was handed a senior debut in defence.

Defeat at Derby County last time out wasn't without its casualties, with both Sammy Ameobi and Craig Noone ruled out through injury.

Yanic Wildschut was a surprise inclusion, taking up a place on the substitutes' bench after three months out following ankle surgery, while the starting line-up had three changes to the side that began at Pride Park - with Ben Alnwick, Jack Hobbs and Brockbank taking the places of Remi Matthews, Beevers and Ameobi.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Villa who had the better of the early play and they came close to opening the scoring when Glenn Whelan saw a goalbound effort blocked inside 10 minutes.

Abraham was next to try his luck for the visitors, with Will Buckley this time the one putting his body on the line to deflect the ball behind, moments before Ahmed Elmohamady's ball across the face of goal was somehow poked wide by Anwar El Ghazi at the far post.

Villa came even closer to breaking the deadlock on the quarter-hour, with Abraham seeing a header cleared off the line by Brockbank after Alnwick had fumbled a cross from Albert Adomah straight into the path of the on-loan Chelsea forward.

Grealish and John McGinn both came close as Villa maintained their onslaught of the Bolton goal, before the hosts were forced into an early change as David Wheater went to ground and had to be replaced by Beevers.

With the ball back in play, it was Wanderers who were next to create a chance of note, with Clayton Donaldson turning on the edge of the box before seeing a bending drive parried away by Jed Steer.

The home side were then forced into a second change before the break, with Gary O'Neil landing awkwardly following an aerial duel and having to be replaced by Josh Magennis.

With his first involvement, Magennis hustled a mistake out of Villa goalkeeper Steer and the loose ball fell kindly at the feet of Buckley, whose eventual strike was charged down and cleared to safety.

McGinn had the final attempt of the half, with a 25-yard drive rolling harmlessly into the arms of Alnwick, as the sides went in level at 0-0.

The second period was less than two minutes old when the deadlock was finally broken, however, and the opening goal arrived in the most simplest of fashion as Abraham's cross to the far post was nodded home by an unmarked Grealish to make it 1-0.

El Ghazi and Grealish were stopped from making it 2-0 by Alnwick, while Tyrone Mings' pursuit of a rare goal was only denied by a full-stretch diving stop from the same goalkeeper on 56 minutes.

Villa did double their lead from the next attack, though, as McGinn's lofted pass picked out the run of Grealish. After bringing the ball under control in the Bolton box, he squared it for Abraham to bundle home with what proved to be his final involvement - having appeared to suffer a shoulder injury whilst in the motion of scoring.

The University of Bolton Stadium became somewhat flat from that point on, with the exception of 4,569 visiting supporters who continued to back their side.

It wasn't until the final 20 minutes that Bolton came close to reducing the deficit, with Joe Williams curling wide from the edge of the Villa box, while Keinan Davis sent a looping header up and into the gloves of Alnwick at the other end.

Davis flashed a shot wide with less than five minutes to play, while Mile Jedinak and Luca Connell both got shots away at either end without troubling their opposition goalkeepers.

Grealish and El Ghazi came close to adding a third for Villa inside five added minutes for stoppages, but the 2-0 scoreline proved decisive enough to relegate Bolton for a second time in four seasons - after a two-year stay in the Championship.

They return to action on Easter Monday, with a Lancashire derby against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor, Hobbs, Wheater (Beevers 36), Brockbank, Buckley, Connolly, J Williams, Connell, O'Neil (Magennis 45), Donaldson (Oztumer 80)
Subs Not Used: B Williams, Vela, Olkowski, Wildschut
Booked: Beevers, Connolly

Aston Villa: Steer, Elmohamady, Tuanzebe (Jedinak 74), Mings, Taylor, Whelan, Adomah, McGinn (Hourihane 72), Grealish, El Ghazi, Abraham (Davis 60)
Subs Not Used: Sarkic, Lansbury, Green, Bjarnason
Booked: El Mohamady
Goals: Grealish 47, Abraham 57

Referee: John Brooks
Attendance: 17,344

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Exeter City 2 1
20 Tranmere Rovers 2 1
21 Bolton Wanderers 2 0
22 Oldham Athletic 2 0
23 Grimsby Town 2 0
View Full Standings >>


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