Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Newport County

  • September 26, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Ian Evatt became the first Bolton boss to lose his opening five games in charge, as Wanderers were beaten 2-0 by Newport County.

After a goalless first-half, Tristan Abrahams struck twice inside the space of just nine second-half minutes to give the visitors a comfortable three points - both times tapping in from close range after goalkeeper Billy Crellin had parried shots back into dangerous territory.

Defeat for the hosts means Evatt breaks an unwanted 132-year record, previously set during John Bentley's second spell as manager in 1888 when he began his reign with four consecutive reversals.

After tasting defeat at Colchester United last time out, Evatt made just one change to his starting line-up as George Taft came back into the defence at the expense of Alex Baptiste.

Four days on from beating Watford in the Carabao Cup, Newport began strongly as Abrahams dragged a shot narrowly wide of Crellin's far post, while Josh Sheehan saw a goalbound header cleared away by Ricardo Santos.

Crellin made an outstanding reaction save to deny Scott Twine on 13 minutes, before his resulting corner was met by Liam Shephard, whose first-time effort came back off the inside of the post.

Taft just about did enough to prevent Abrahams from having a clear run on goal shortly afterwards, before some more weak defending from Wanderers saw Brandon Cooper head over as he met another corner from Twine.

Bolton's first chance arrived shortly before the 20-minute mark but Ali Crawford was unable to keep his right-footed effort down as he latched on to a through ball from Jak Hickman.

Twine and Taft both saw efforts blocked as each side continued to press for an opening goal, while Ryan Haynes brought another fine save out of Crellin as his half-volley from the edge of the box seemed destined for the top corner.

Eoin Doyle has looked a frustrated figure at times this season and he was presented with an opportunity five minutes before the break, pouncing on a slack pass from Sheehan before advancing into the box and seeing his cross for Nathan Delfouneso turned behind.

Crawford brought Nick Townsend into action for the first time with a 25-yard free-kick moments later, before the final chance of the half went begging as the County goalkeeper moved his feet quickly to parry away an effort from Delfouneso.

With the game goalless at the break, both managers resisted temptation to alter their teams as the players returned for the second period without any substitutions made.

The first chance after the restart fell the way of the home side, as Hickman cut in from the right before seeing a shot blocked by a Newport defender.

Wanderers continued to look weak at defending set-pieces, though, and County came close once again on 52 minutes as Twine's corner was headed back across goal by Matty Dolan for Brandon Cooper to nod over the bar.

They did take the lead from the next attack, however, as Joss Labadie's 25-yard strike was parried back into the six-yard box by Crellin, where Abrahams had gambled to dink the ball home for 1-0.

That forced Bolton into life and they had the ball in the net just two minutes later - with Delfouneso prodding in from close range - but after initially awarding the goal, referee Christopher Sarginson consulted with his assistant and ruled it out for a handball.

The hammer-blow then came on 63 minutes as Crellin once again failed to push a strike wide of goal, this time spilling an effort from Haynes and allowing Abrahams to net his second of the afternoon.

That prompted a triple substitution from Evatt as debutants Lloyd Isgrove and Arthur Gnahoua entered alongside Andrew Tutte, with Hickman, Crawford and Delfouneso all brought off the field of play.

Tutte looked to make an instant impact with a 25-yard drive that flashed narrowly wide of the far post, shortly before a deflected Tom White shot brought a corner from which Taft headed wide from Isgrove's delivery.

A deflected attempt from Gordon brought a save out of Townsend with less than 10 minutes remaining, but that was as close as Bolton got to a consolation as they dropped to their lowest-ever EFL position for the third week in succession - hovering just above the relegation zone by virtue of alphabetical order.

They are back on the road next weekend, with a game against newly-promoted Harrogate Town set to take place at Doncaster Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Crellin, Gordon, Taft, Santos, Jones, Comley, White, Hickman (Isgrove 65), Crawford (Tutte 65), Doyle, Delfouneso (Gnahoua 65)
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Delaney, Mascoll, Darcy
Booked: Comley

Newport County: Townsend, Cooper, Dolan, Demetriou, Shephard, Labadie (Bennett 72), Sheehan, Twine (Willmott 72), Haynes, Abrahams, Taylor (Amond 78)
Subs Not Used: King, Baker, Janneh, Collins
Booked: Labadie, Cooper, Sheeham
Goals: Abrahams 54,63

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

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 >>


Who is Bolton's 2021/22 Player of the Year?
32.58% Oladapo Afolayan
30.96% Gethin Jones
21.72% Ricardo Almeida Santos
5.51% Declan John
4.05% Kieran Lee
3.08% MJ Williams
1.78% Joel Dixon
0.32% George Johnston