Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Bradford City

  • October 27, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Billy Crellin will take the headlines once again after he saved a second-half penalty to ensure Bolton beat Bradford City at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Four days on from Head Coach Ian Evatt receiving criticism for an interview in which he said Crellin needed to 'man up' following a number of recent mistakes, the Wanderers goalkeeper denied Billy Clarke from 12 yards to hand his side all three points.

Nathan Delfouneso had scored the game's only goal with just 13 minutes played, firing home from the edge of the Bradford box after Elliot Watt had headed a clearance against his own crossbar.

Evatt made one change to the Bolton side that came from behind to draw at Cambridge United on Saturday, as Arthur Gnahoua came into the side in place of the injured Eoin Doyle.

Wanderers started the game well and came close to taking the lead inside two minutes as Andrew Tutte fired over from just outside the area.

Richard O'Donnell was called into action for the first time five minutes later, making a routine save to deny Delfouneso after he had capitalised in a mistake in the City midfield.

Paudie O'Connor put his body on the line to stop Alex Baptiste from getting a shot away in the next attack, but the Trotters were ahead on 13 minutes after a comedy of errors in the Bantams defence.

Watt's header back to O'Donnell was short, allowing Antoni Sarcevic to steal in behind with a lobbed attempt which came back off the crossbar. Then, as he retreated to clear the danger, Watt could only succeed in heading against the woodwork again, giving Delfouneso time and space to drill home the resulting rebound to open the scoring.

Bryce Hosannah shot over at the other end as Bradford looked to get themselves back on level terms, shortly before the game took a brief pause to allow Harry Brockbank to receive treatment on a back injury.

With the ball back in play and the clock now beyond the half-hour, Gnahoua's search for a first Bolton goal was made to go on even further as a combination of Anthony O'Connor and Ben Richards-Everton made a block to thwart his effort at O'Donnell's target.

City should have equalised shortly before the break as Callum Cooke received the ball from Clayton Donaldson, but he couldn't quite get over the top of the ball and his shot flew harmlessly over Crellin's crossbar.

Then, in the second of two added minutes for stoppages, Ali Crawford whipped a free-kick over the top as Wanderers were made to settle for their one-goal advantage going into the interval.

The teams emerged unchanged for the second half, which began with Crawford whipping a strike wide of O'Donnell's right-hand post just three minutes after the restart.

Brockbank was next to fire off-target at the end of a neat move in which he played a one-two with Sarcevic, moments before Crellin was brought into action at the other end to deny Hosannah an equaliser from a narrow angle.

Wanderers wasted a glorious opportunity to double their lead on 54 minutes as Delfouneso received the ball from Sarcevic. After shifting himself away from a defender, Delfouneso looked certain to score but instead opted to cross and the chance was gone.

Crawford, much like earlier in the half, curled two further shots wide of goal as the clock ticked towards the hour, before Hosannah looped an attempt into the side netting whilst under pressure from Delaney, who was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty in the process.

Peter Kioso almost sliced the ball into his own net as Bradford pressed for an equaliser, which they had the chance to get with 20 minutes to play as Delfouneso brought Anthony O'Connor down inside the box and referee Ben Toner pointed to the spot.

Clarke took responsibility for the penalty kick but his effort from 12 yards was poor, with Crellin guessing correctly and making the save down low to his right.

Crawford was off-target again with 15 minutes to play at the end of a counter-attacking move in which he was set up by Gnahoua, while substitute Jamie Mascoll couldn't keep his shot down moments later after he got on the end of a cross from Sarcevic.

Hearts were in mouths in the final minute of the regulation 90 as Donaldson beat Crellin in the air, but Delaney raced back to cover his goalkeeper and clear the loose ball to safety as Hosannah looked to head home a leveller.

There was to be one final chance for the visitors to rescue a late point but Paudie O'Connor headed wide in stoppage time, meaning Evatt's side picked up their first home win of the season - making amends for September's Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Bradford.

Bolton move up to 16th in the League Two table as a result of their victory - five points clear of the relegation zone - ahead of Saturday's trip to Leyton Orient.

Bolton Wanderers: Crellin, Delaney, Santos, Baptiste, Brockbank (Mascoll 65), Tutte (Comley 76), Sarcevic, Kioso, Crawford, Gnahoua (Darcy 90+2), Delfouneso
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Taft, Hickman, Greenidge
Booked: Delaney, Darcy
Goals: Delfouneso 13

Bradford City: O'Donnell, A O'Connor, P O'Connor, Richards-Everton, Hosannah, Cousin-Dawson (Pritchard 69), Watt, Wood, Cooke, Clarke (Samuels 76), Donaldson
Subs Not Used: Hornby, Longridge, French, Staunton, Mottley-Henry
Booked: Cousin-Dawson

Referee: Ben Toner

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
4 Tranmere Rovers 31 54
5 Morecambe 32 52
6 Bolton Wanderers 32 50
7 Salford City 31 49
8 Newport County 31 48
View Full Standings >>


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