Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Crewe Alexandra

  • November 07, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Nathan Delfouneso scored twice but it wasn't enough to prevent Bolton from slipping out of the FA Cup at the first-round stage for a second consecutive season.

Trailing to a 29th-minute opener from Mikael Mandron, Delfouneso got Wanderers back on level terms eight minutes later to send the sides in level at the break.

Oliver Finney put the visitors back in front on 70 minutes before Charlie Kirk made it 3-1 with 15 minutes to play, and although Delfouneso tapped home his second three minutes later it didn't quite spark the tense finish that the Trotters would have hoped for.

After coming from behind to claim an undeserved point in a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town on Tuesday night, Ian Evatt made just one change to his side as Harry Brockbank missed out through injury and Liam Gordon stepped in to take his place.

Crewe made a dominant start to the game, holding more than three-quarters of the possession inside the opening 20 minutes, and it took a little over 60 seconds for them to register their first shot on target as Perry Ng struck straight into the arms of Billy Crellin after he had been teed up by Kirk.

Kirk should have opened the scoring two minutes later as he got on the end of a cross from Ryan Wintle but a full-stretch Crellin may have just done enough to put off the winger, whose header went into the side netting.

Gordon lost possession shortly afterwards, allowing Finney to play Kirk in yet again. However, just as he did before, Kirk's effort struck the side netting as he raced to get a strike away whilst under pressure from Alex Baptiste.

Wintle was next to try his luck for the visitors, seeing a 25-yard piledriver tipped onto the crossbar by Crellin, before Mandron had a goalbound effort blocked by Ryan Delaney.

Mandron should have converted from close-range on 19 minutes as Harry Pickering raced in behind the Wanderers defence, only for his cross to roll across the face of goal and out for a throw-in on the far side.

Antoni Sarcevic shot wide with Wanderers' first shot of the afternoon on 28 minutes but the ball was in their net just 60 seconds later as Crewe broke the deadlock.

Ronan Darcy lost possession just inside his own half and within the space of two simple passes, Wintle had rolled the ball in for Madron to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

Mandron should have doubled the lead moments later, only for Crellin to make a fine reaction save, shortly before the hosts pulled level in spectacular fashion.

Receiving the ball from Ali Crawford, Delfouneso shifted his weight on the edge of the Crewe area before curling a delightful strike into the top corner of Will Jaaskelainen's goal to make it 1-1, a score which would remain going into the half-time interval.

Neither manager looked to the substitutes' bench as the players returned for the second period, which began with Sarcevic seeing a strike charged down within four minutes of the restart.

It wasn't until the 57th minute that the next chance of note arrived and that fell to the feet of Tom Lowery, whose first-time attempt with the outside of his left foot flashed narrowly wide of the target and into the side netting.

Sarcevic and Delaney put their bodies on the line to deny Mandron a second of the game as the clock ticked just past the hour, shortly before Kirk saw another shot blocked by Liam Gordon as Crewe looked to hit Wanderers on the counter attack.

Alex were back in front on 70 minutes though, as Finney made the most of weak defending from Tom White before firing through the gloves of Crellin from a narrow angle.

It was 3-1 a little over five minutes afterwards as substitute Owen Dale beat Crellin to a ball from Callum Ainley, allowing Kirk to head into the empty net to effectively book the visitors' place in round two.

Delfouneso reduced the deficit three minutes later, tapping in from a low Kioso cross, but aside from a Kioso header which went over the bar Wanderers failed to mount enough pressure to get themselves back on terms.

In the end, it was Crewe who advanced as the Trotters dropped out of both the FA Cup and EFL Cup at the first-round stage in consecutive seasons for the first time in their history.

Evatt's side return to league action this coming Friday, when they host Salford City in a televised fixture at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Crellin, Delaney, Santos, Baptiste, Gordon, White (Tutte 76), Sarcevic, Kioso, Crawford (Isgrove 68), Darcy (Miller 61), Delfouneso
Subs Not Used: Comley, Hickman, Mascoll, Greenidge
Goals: Delfouneso 37,78

Crewe Alexandra: Jaaskelainen, Ng (Johnson 80), Beckles, Offord, Pickering, Finney (Ainley 70), Wintle, Lowery, Powell (Dale 70), Mandron, Kirk
Subs Not Used: Richards, Nolan, Zanzala, Adebisi
Goals: Mandron 29, Finney 70, Kirk 75

Referee: Robert Lewis

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