Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Fleetwood Town

  • November 02, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton survived a late onslaught to beat Fleetwood Town and record a third consecutive victory for the first time since March 2017.

With wins over Bristol Rovers and Manchester City U21 in their last two outings, Wanderers were well on their way towards another three points after goals from Chris O'Grady and Daryl Murphy had them 2-0 up at the break.

Josh Morris pulled one back for the visitors with five minutes remaining, before a last minute corner from Ashley Hunter was headed goalwards by Danny Andrew, only for Remi Matthews to produce an outstanding reaction save to hand his side the win.

Keith Hill made two changes to the Wanderers side that beat Man City U21 in the Trophy on Tuesday night, with Jake Wright and Thibaud Verlinden taking the places of the dropped James Weir and injured Ali Crawford.

Fleetwood had the better of the early play and the home side were living dangerously, with both Wright and Luke Murphy going into the referee's book inside 12 minutes for poor challenges.

It came as little surprise to see the first chance of the afternoon go the way of the visitors, with Kyle Dempsey twice being denied by some last-ditch defending from Josh Emmanuel and Yoan Zouma.

Ched Evans was next to force a way through, only to see his goalbound attempt blocked by the leg of Jason Lowe, while Verlinden cut inside and won a corner as Bolton made moves into the final third for the first time midway through the half.

Verlinden was on the attack again moments later, receiving the ball from Joe Dodoo just inside the box before whipping a powerful drive just over the bar.

Bolton maintained their pressure and scored twice in the space of six minutes, as they went from being on the back foot to complete control.

First, O'Grady pounced on a short pass back to goalkeeper Alex Cairns to slide in and poke the ball into the empty net to make it 1-0.

Then, moments after Daryl Murphy headed a Verlinden cross into the body of a defender, the forward latched on to a pass from Dodoo before rounding Cairns and slotting into the opposite corner for 2-0.

Evans headed straight into the waiting arms of Matthews two minutes before the break, while Paddy Madden headed over from six yards as Fleetwood - who had initially began strongly - went in two-down at the interval.

There were no changes to either side as the players returned for the second period, which began with Dodoo firing a free-kick through a body of Fleetwood defenders and into the gloves of Cairns.

With little to call between the teams, both managers looked for substitutes to change the game as the clock ticked towards the hour.

Dennis Politic came on in place of Verlinden for the hosts, while a triple change for Fleetwood saw Jordan Rossiter, Wes Burns and Madden replaced by Conor McAleny, Hunter and Morris.

Of all those introduced, it was Politic who almost made an instant impact - running clear on goal before seeing a shot deflect off the heel of Cairns as it rolled beyond the far post, only for referee Scott Oldham to award a goal-kick.

O'Grady then had the opportunity to make it 3-0 and put the result beyond doubt, but Cairns got down to make an outstanding save and keep the Cod Army in the game.

Town should have reduced the deficit with seven minutes to play as Lewie Coyle stole in ahead of O'Grady before rounding Matthews and sending his strike wide of the target.

Substitute Morris did pull one back for Fleetwood two minutes later, drilling low and hard across Matthews and into the bottom corner, setting up a tense finish at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Politic, who had only been on the field for 35 minutes, was replaced by Sonny Graham for the closing stages - with the fourth official's board showing five minutes of stoppage time.

Wanderers had to defend a number of corners in that added time, the final one of which saw Matthews produce a match-winning save to deny Andrew after he had turned Hunter's cross goalwards.

Bolton retained possession in the final minute, running the ball into the corner, as referee Oldham called time to give Wanderers a third victory in succession for the first time in over two-and-a-half years.

League action now takes a break for Hill's side, who return to action next Saturday with an FA Cup first-round tie at home to Plymouth Argyle.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Chicksen, Wright, Zouma, Emmanuel, L Murphy, Lowe, O'Grady, Verlinden (Politic 55 (Graham 89)), Dodoo, D Murphy
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Weir, Hall, Boon, Senior
Booked: Wright, L Murphy
Goals: O'Grady 28, D Murphy 33

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Souttar, Dunne, Andrew, Coutts, Rossiter (McAleny 60), Dempsey, Burns (Hunter 60), Evans, Madden (Morris 61)
Subs Not Used: Crellin, Clarke, Biggins, Mooney
Booked: Dempsey, Coyle, Madden
Goals: Morris 85

Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 12,756

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
View Full Standings >>


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2.75% Mark Beevers
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