Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Portsmouth

  • January 18, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Christian Burgess scored the only goal as Portsmouth inflicted a fourth straight defeat on Bolton, whose relegation is looking more likely with each passing game.

Burgess found the net three minutes before half-time at the University of Bolton Stadium, slotting home a rebound from close-range after Wanderers goalkeeper Remi Matthews had pushed away Sean Raggett's initial header from a Steve Seddon free-kick.

The Trotters dominated the second period and came close to equalising on a number of occasions, but ultimately couldn't find a way through as Pompey left with all three points.

Keith Hill made two changes to the Bolton side that was beaten heavily at Lincoln City on Tuesday. Jason Lowe returned from suspension to take up a place in midfield, while Brandon Fleming was handed a debut after joining on loan from Hull City.

Yoan Zouma missed out having picked up a hamstring injury at the LNER Stadium in midweek, while Daryl Murphy was left out after being granted compassionate leave.

Portsmouth created the first opportunity of the afternoon, with Cameron McGeehan pouncing on a slack pass from Fleming before shooting over from distance, moments before Ethan Hamilton fired wide from a tight angle after latching on to a ball from Ronan Darcy.

Neither side fashioned any further chances until the midway point of the half when Pompey's Ronan Curtis dropped a shoulder before forcing Matthews into action from distance.

The visitors should have gone ahead from the resulting corner as James Bolton found himself in space, but he couldn't keep his effort down and Wanderers were given a reprieve.

Home fans were left cursing referee Tom Nield on 27 minutes when a challenge from Raggett on Joe Dodoo resulted in a yellow card for the Portsmouth defender. Wanderers supporters felt a professional foul warranted a dismissal but Raggett's genuine attempt to play the ball meant a caution was sufficient in the eyes of the law.

Dodoo, frustrated at this point, was booked himself three minutes later for charging down goalkeeper Alex Bass as he looked to set up a counter-attack - prompting those on the terraces to aim further disenchantment at the official.

Play was halted to allow Liam Edwards and Ellis Harrison to receive treatment on 34 minutes, with the Wanderers defender limping heavily on what appeared to be his ankle, but both players returned to the action.

The deadlock was then broken three minutes before the interval as Seddon's inswinging free-kick from the right was headed towards goal by Raggett. Matthews got down low to push away the initial attempt, but Burgess reacted quickest to poke home from close range to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Dennis Politic fired wide in the immediate aftermath of the goal, as Pompey took their lead into the half-time break.

After failing to overcome the knock he received late in the first-half, Edwards was withdrawn at the start of the second period - Chris O'Grady on in his place.

O'Grady's introduction brought a slight change of shape for Bolton, seeing Lowe drop into defence and Ethan Hamilton shift into central midfield. Darcy was asked to play out on the right, with Politic remaining on the left, while O'Grady partnered Dodoo in attack.

The switch in system seemed to spark Politic into life and he brought a save out of Bass on 53 minutes after working a yard of space on the edge of the box.

Wanderers came close to drawing level on the hour as Darcy latched on to a pass from Hamilton before crossing into the middle, where an outstretched toe of O'Grady just couldn't direct the ball into the net from close range.

Bass spilled a cross from Dodoo moments later, from which Darcy saw a goalbound strike blocked by a defender, but referee Nield had already blown for the collision involving the goalkeeper.

Darcy and O'Grady combined again with 20 minutes to play, with the latter directing a header well off-target, while Politic brought another save out of Bass in similar circumstances to his earlier attempt at goal.

A neat one-two involving Politic and O'Grady almost produced an equaliser with seven minutes remaining, with the former's first-time strike with his left foot just pushed away for a corner by the fingertips of Bass.

There was to be one final chance for Wanderers inside four added minutes for stoppages but substitute Connor Hall couldn't keep his strike down from a narrow angle, with the ball eventually rolling out for a throw-in on the far side.

Defeat for Bolton, coupled with results elsewhere, means they now trail Southend United by six points in the League One table. They are now 18 points from safety, a gap which could be extended before they return to action following the postponement of next Saturday's game at Shrewsbury Town.

Hill's side now face a 10 day break, with Bristol Rovers next up at the University of Bolton Stadium on January 28.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Fleming, Edwards (O'Grady 45), Nsiala, Emmanuel, Lowe, L Murphy, Darcy (Hall 90), Politic, Hamilton, Dodoo
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Brockbank, Thomason, Senior, Graham
Booked: Edwards, Dodoo

Portsmouth: Bass, Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon, McGeehan, Naylor, Harness (Williams 56), Marquis, Curtis, Harrison (Cannon 56)
Subs Not Used: MacGillivray, Hawkins, Whatmough, Close, Haunstrup
Booked: Raggett, Harrison
Goals: Burgess 42

Referee: Tom Nield
Attendance: 13,407

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Portsmouth 19 42
2 Bolton Wanderers 18 39
3 Oxford United 18 36
4 Stevenage 20 36
5 Peterborough United 19 35
View Full Standings >>


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