Rotherham United 6-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 14, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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After a dream start, Keith Hill's first game in charge of Bolton quickly turned into a nightmare as they were beaten 6-1 at Rotherham United.

Debutant Thibaud Verlinden fired Wanderers into a fourth minute lead at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, but the Millers would go in 3-1 up at the break courtesy of goals from Ben Wiles, Freddie Ladapo and Carlton Morris, before further strikes in the second period from Ladapo, Morris and Jake Hastie completed a miserable afternoon for the visitors.

It was scarce consolation for the Trotters that Verlinden's opener saw the club avoid an unwanted English league record of 11 games without a goal - jointly held by both Coventry City (1919/20) and Hartlepool United (1992/93).

Having bolstered the squad with nine new recruits on transfer deadline day, Hill named six debutants in the starting lineup - including Adam Chicksen, whose arrival was confirmed as the teams were announced at 2pm.

In addition to Chicksen, Josh Emmanuel, Jake Wright, Ali Crawford, Liam Bridcutt and Verlinden were all handed their first starts - with Bridcutt taking the captain's armband as Jason Lowe dropped to the substitutes' bench.

2,600 visiting supporters were in fine voice in the build-up to kick-off and their spirits were heightened within four minutes of the game beginning, as Verlinden exchanged passes with Crawford from a short corner, stepped inside a defender before slamming beyond Iversen from a narrow angle.

Matt Crooks headed over at the other end as Rotherham looked for an immediate response, moments before Hastie's header across the face of goal put an equaliser on a plate for Ladapo, only for Bridcutt to make a vital last-ditch intervention.

Ladapo was denied again two minutes later, with Jack Hobbs this time making the timely block, shortly before he saw the whites of Remi Matthews' eyes, only to shoot straight at the Wanderers goalkeeper.

Rotherham's persistence paid off on 14 minutes, however, as Wiles collected the ball from Matthew Olosunde, flicked it beyond his marker and slotted home to make it 1-1.

Crawford saw a strike deflect behind from the next attack after he had been teed up by Dennis Politic, while Hastie shot narrowly over the crossbar at the other end after he was picked out by Crooks.

Politic and Ladapo came close to scoring at either end as the clock reached the midway point of the half, with Ladapo then striking the crossbar with a header that appeared to have got the better of Matthews.

Ladapo did finally get his goal on 28 minutes, playing a neat one-two on the edge of the box before smashing home off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-1 to the Millers.

With Bolton looking to get back on level terms, Verlinden, with one goal already to his name, got the better of Olosunde. His cross found the head of Hobbs, whose effort was comfortably held by Iversen.

Iversen made an outstanding save from the next attack, sticking out a leg to deny Verlinden a certain goal, although referee Sebastian Stockbridge awarded the home side a goal-kick, much to the frustration of the away camp.

James Weir's afternoon came to an end on 38 minutes, with Lowe brought on as part of a tactical switch, but the change failed to have the desired effect as Rotherham made it 3-1 less than two minutes later.

Static defending from the Trotters backline allowed Michael Ihiekwe to flick a throw-in into the path of Morris, who sent a header beyond Matthews at the near post - ensuring the hosts went in with a two-goal cushion at the interval.

There were no changes as the players returned for the start of the second period, but events on the field would go from bad to worse for Wanderers as they conceded a fourth within eight minutes of the restart.

Bolton's defensive weaknesses were clearly visible once more, as a routine cross from Lindsay picked out Ladapo, who headed past Matthews for his second of the game.

Then, little over 60 seconds later, it was 5-1 as a deflected strike from Morris left Matthews rooted as the ball rolled into the corner.

Matthews made the save to prevent Ladapo from completing a hat-trick shortly before the hour, while Morris stepped inside a number of defenders before firing over from the edge of the box.

Hastie had impressed on his Millers debut and got the goal his display deserved on 65 minutes, as he was afforded too much time and space to tap in from close range.

There was little in terms of goalmouth activity from that point on, although Joe Mattock, Ladapo and substitute Michael Smith all wasted opportunities to make it seven in the latter stages.

Referee Stockbridge called time after three minutes of added play, after which the travelling supporters who remained applauded their team off the field - with Hill only the second manager to see a side concede six or more goals in his opening game in charge, and first since John Bentley (9) in 1887.

Bolton return to action on Tuesday night when they host Oxford United at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Rotherham United: Iversen, Olosunde, Ihiekwe, Robertson, Mattock, Wiles, Lindsay (Barlaser 75), Crooks, Ladapo, Morris (Smith 67), Hastie (MacDonald 67)
Subs Not Used: Price, Jones, Wood, Lamy
Booked: Lindsay, Crooks
Goals: Wiles 14, Ladapo 28,53, Morris 40,55, Hastie 65

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Chicksen, Wright, Hobbs, Emmanuel, L Murphy (Darcy 62), Bridcutt, Weir (Lowe 39), Verlinden, Crawford, Politic
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Zouma, Boon, Brown, Senior
Goals: Verlinden 4

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Attendance: 10,088

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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