Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Crewe Alexandra

  • September 08, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Mikael Mandron struck an 89th-minute penalty as Bolton began their EFL Trophy group stage with a 3-2 defeat to Crewe Alexandra.

Mandron had earlier opened the scoring with a 15th-minute header at the University of Bolton Stadium, but Wanderers grew into the game and pulled level eight minutes after the break through Ryan Delaney.

Owen Dale put the visitors back in front on 66 minutes, only for the Trotters to get back on level terms through substitute Shaun Miller on 75 minutes, but Mandron sealed victory for Alex in the final minute of normal time by slotting home from the penalty spot after a foul by George Taft.

With one eye on Saturday's League Two opener against Forest Green Rovers, changes were always expected and Ian Evatt did exactly that - with four alterations to his starting XI.

Delaney, Harry Brockbank and Ali Crawford were all drafted in, while Jak Hickman made his debut on the right-hand side of defence.

Eight minutes were on the clock when the first chance of the evening fell the way of the visitors, who would have gone ahead but for Josh Lundstram's weak effort in a one-on-one situation being kept out by Billy Crellin in the Wanderers goal.

The home side saw appeals for a penalty turned down on 12 minutes as Alex goalkeeper Dave Richards collided with Hickman at the far post, with referee Anthony Backhouse awarding a corner despite the appeals.

Then, just as they did against Bradford City on Saturday, Bolton fell behind to a poor goal from a defensive point of view as a long-ranging cross from Callum Ainley was headed home with ease at the far post by Mandron.

Evatt's side looked to get back on level terms straight away and were unfortunate to see Harry Pickering divert a goalbound attempt from Hickman behind, moments before Offrande Zanzala whipped a strike wide of the post at the other end.

Mandron wasted an opportunity to double his tally for the evening on 20 minutes, while Richards was alert to a long-range free-kick from Crawford just two minutes later.

Ainley twice saw efforts come and go as Bolton held on at times, while the final chance of the half fell the way of Owen Dale, who was denied by Crellin as the score remained at 1-0 going into the break.

There were no changes to either team as the players returned for the second period, which began with chances for both sides.

First, Mandron glanced a header wide of Crellin's goal after he got on the end of a cross from Ainley, moments before Hickman drilled high and wide at the other end following a lay-off from Eoin Doyle.

Wanderers were level on 55 minutes, though, as a cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Doyle, where Delaney had the simple task of nodding in from close range to make it 1-1.

Doyle should have made it 2-1 from the very next attack, heading wide from a Hickman cross, shortly before Delaney got his positioning right to clear off the line after Mandron's shot had found a way beyond Crellin.

Crewe took the lead for a second time midway through the half, with Dale cutting in from the right before finding the top corner with Crellin rooted to the spot.

That came as a blow to Bolton, who had looked threatening in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but they came within inches of equalising on 70 minutes as substitute Miller put Doyle clean through, only for him to drag his shot just wide of the far post.

Brockbank, like Delaney before him, headed off the line as Crewe came close to a third and that would prove to be important as the Trotters restored parity for a second time with 15 minutes to play - Miller turning and bending his effort into the top corner against his former club.

Doyle couldn't quite direct a cross from Gethin Jones on target with four minutes to play and it would prove vital as Alex took the victory in the final minute of normal time, with Mandron sending Crellin the wrong way from the penalty spot after a foul by Taft.

Bolton were unable to find a third equaliser inside four minutes of added time, meaning Evatt becomes the first boss since Owen Coyle to lose his opening two games in charge.

The real acid test for the new Head Coach arrives on Saturday, however, when Wanderers begin their League Two campaign at home to Forest Green Rovers.

Bolton Wanderers: Crellin, Gordon, Taft, Delaney, Brockbank, Hickman (Jones 76), Sarcevic, Crawford, White (Comley 66), Doyle, Delfouneso (Miller 66)
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Darcy, Tutte, Senior
Booked: White, Delaney, Taft
Goals: Delaney 53, Miller 75

Crewe Alexandra: Richards, Johnson, Pickering, Beckles, Sass-Davies, Wintle, Lundstram (Finney 80), Ainley, Mandron, Zanzala (Kirk 65), Dale
Subs Not Used: Booth, Lancashire, Nolan, Griffiths, Murphy
Goals: Mandron 15,89(pen), Dale 66

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2020/21 Player of the Year?
56.86% Ricardo Santos
17.79% Matt Gilks
10.64% Alex Baptiste
9.94% Eoin Doyle
2.52% Antoni Sarcevic
1.54% Gethin Jones
0.42% Nathan Delfouneso
0.28% Ryan Delaney