Bolton Wanderers 0-3 Tranmere Rovers

  • December 19, 2020 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Keith Hill came back to haunt his former club as Bolton began their Christmas schedule with a 3-0 defeat at home to Tranmere Rovers.

Hill, who oversaw just six victories during a 33-game spell in charge of Wanderers prior to his departure in June, guided Rovers to only their second-ever league win at the University of Bolton Stadium as he got the last laugh on what has been a dismal 2020 for both he and the Trotters.

Tranmere went ahead in the 28th minute as Peter Clarke headed in from a Liam Feeney corner, before Kieron Morris drilled home midway through the second period to double their lead.

James Vaughan added a third from the penalty spot with 15 minutes remaining, after Alex Baptiste had inexplicably handled inside his own area whilst under no pressure from any Rovers attacker.

After returning to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday, Ian Evatt made one change to his team as Harry Brockbank returned from injury to take the place of Reiss Greenidge on the left-wing.

Both sides fashioned chances in the early stages, with Corey Blackett-Taylor stinging the palms of Matt Gilks inside three minutes, before Brockbank volleyed over the crossbar at the other end moments later.

Nathan Delfouneso volleyed over two minutes later, before Eoin Doyle rolled a strike wide of the far post after an initial attempt had been parried away by Scott Davies.

Jay Spearing fired high into the stand as he looked to mark his return to the University of Bolton Stadium with a goal, while Blackett-Taylor saw a deflected strike turned onto the post by the outstretched glove of Gilks with 25 minutes on the clock.

Vaughan clipped the crossbar shortly afterwards, although an offside flag had already been raised against the forward, but Rovers didn't have to wait much longer to break the deadlock as their persistence was rewarded with a goal.

With former Wanderers winger Feeney standing over a corner, his lofted cross allowed Clarke to get the jump on Ryan Delaney and head the ball low past Gilks to open the scoring for Tranmere.

The final 15 minutes of the half passed by without incident, with Rovers wasteful in possession and the Trotters struggling to get the ball up to Lloyd Isgrove, Delfouneso or Doyle, as the visitors went in with a one-goal advantage at the break.

There were no changes as the players returned for the second period, which began with Antoni Sarcevic seeing a free-kick deflect behind after he had been fouled by Sid Nelson.

From the resulting corner, Delfouneso's cross was turned towards his own goal by Vaughan, whose blushes were spared as the ball bounced back off the post before being claimed by Davies.

Clarke put his body in the line to deny Doyle shortly afterwards, moments before the Irish forward headed wide as he got on the end of a cross from Baptiste.

Vaughan struck wide on 54 minutes after finding space inside the box, while Brockbank couldn't quite get his leg around the body of Calum MacDonald to turn home a ball from Isgrove on the hour.

With Bolton beginning to grow into the game, they were hit with a hammer-blow midway through the half as a long-range effort from Morris went through the legs of a defender and rolled into the net, with Gilks left flat-footed in the middle of his goal.

Ali Crawford was on as a substitute at this point and his first involvement brought a smart save out of Davies on 69 minutes, but there was to be no comeback for the hosts as Tranmere added a third with 15 minutes remaining.

With a harmless cross seemingly bending out of play, the ball struck the arm of Baptiste at the far post and referee Charles Breakspear had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Vaughan stood over the penalty and made no mistake, firing hard down the middle to leave Gilks with no chance and make it 3-0 to Rovers.

Delfouneso, Gethin Jones and Isgrove all tried to reduce the deficit in the final 10 minutes but there was to be no way through for Evatt's side, who drop to 15th in the League Two standings after yet another heavy defeat on home soil.

Their next action is at Brunton Park next Saturday, when they resume their festive schedule with a Boxing Day trip to Carlisle United.

Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Delaney, Santos, Baptiste, Brockbank (Crawford 63), Thomason, Sarcevic, Jones, Isgrove, Delfouneso, Doyle
Subs Not Used: Crellin, Comley, White, Mascoll, Greenidge, Darcy

Tranmere Rovers: Davies, MacDonald, Nelson, Clarke, Ridehalgh, Morris (O'Connor 89), Spearing (Banks 57), Young, Feeney (Woolery 89), Vaughan (Lloyd-McGoldrick 89), Blackett-Taylor (Ferrier 67)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Ray
Goals: Clarke 28, Morris 68, Vaughan 75(pen)

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
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