Port Vale 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 13, 2021 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/7e0dd

Gethin Jones scored the only goal as Bolton made it 11 games without defeat for the first time since 2001.

Jones, whose only previous career goal came in this season's reverse fixture at the University of Bolton Stadium, fired home shortly after the hour at Vale Park after Oladapo Afolayan had cut the ball back from the left-hand side.

It wasn't the Wanderers performance supporters have grown accustomed to since the turn of the year but it mattered little, as they moved to within five points of top-spot in the League Two table.

Despite revealing a number of his players had shown signs of fatigue in Tuesday's victory over Cambridge United, Ian Evatt named an unchanged team as Wanderers looked to go 11 unbeaten for the first time in 20 years.

Both sides struggled to get a foot on the ball in the early stages, with a difficult pitch seeing players slip and slide at every available turn.

One heart-in-mouth moment for the visitors saw Alex Baptiste play a short back-pass to Matt Gilks, who recovered from a stumble to clear. The goalkeeper was caught on the ankle, however, and play had to be stopped momentarily whilst treatment was given.

Gilks recovered sufficiently to continue but that wasn't the case for captain Antoni Sarcevic, who succumbed to a hamstring injury which had earlier threatened his involvement in the afternoon. He was replaced by Lloyd Isgrove on 26 minutes, while Vale's withdrawal of Will Swan five minutes later summed up the opening half-hour - Theo Robinson on in his place.

Between those two changes was the first chance of the game, which saw Devante Rodney receive possession from Alex Hurst before dragging a shot wide from the edge of the box.

Wanderers' first sight of goal came 10 minutes before the break as Scott Brown could only half-clear Declan John's corner. The ball was recycled back into dangerous territory, where a flick header from Eoin Doyle was comfortably gathered by Brown.

Tom Conlon saw a strike deflect behind five minutes later, shortly before his corner was headed straight into the gloves of Gilks by an unmarked Leon Legge.

The final chance of the half fell the way of the home side as Rodney turned on the edge of the area before seeing a half-volley flash narrowly wide of the target, as the two teams went in goalless at the interval.

The teams returned unchanged for the second period, which began with Robinson testing the handling skills of Gilks with a strike from distance.

The deadlock was broken five minutes later, though, with what proved to be the visitors' first venture forward following the restart.

Afolayan turned away from his marker on the left-flank and worked his way into the penalty area, where his cross to the edge of the box was volleyed into the bottom corner by Jones to make it 1-0.

It proved to the the final act of Afolayan's afternoon, with Arthur Gnahoua coming on in his place immediately following the goal, but the change had little impact as both teams continued to struggle with the greasy surface.

In fact, it wasn't until the 75th minute that the next chance arrived as Vale substitute David Amoo dragged a shot wide from 25 yards.

A short-corner caught Bolton napping moments later, but Luke Joyce couldn't take full advantage with a strike which was straight at Gilks, while Nathan Delfouneso was inches away from putting the game beyond doubt at the other end, with Adam Crookes stretching to turn a cross from Zack Elbouzedi behind.

Crookes was forced off the field moments later with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, leaving the hosts to play the final five minutes with 10 men having already utilised their maximum quota of substitutions.

From that point on, the outcome of the game was in little doubt as Wanderers ran down the clock to register yet another win on the road.

Evatt's side move up to 6th place in the table and have a week without a fixture for the first time since the beginning of February, returning to action next Saturday with a home clash against Walsall.

Port Vale: Brown, Mills (Taylor 80), Legge, Smith, Crookes, Worrall, Joyce (Oyeleke 80), Conlon, Hurst (Amoo 69), Rodney (Cullen 80), Swan (Robinson 31)
Subs Not Used: Scott, Brisley
Booked: Mills, Legge

Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, John, Baptiste, Santos, Jones, Lee, Williams, Sarcevic (Isgrove 26), Afolayan (Gnahoua 64), Delfouneso, Doyle (Elbouzedi 81)
Subs Not Used: Tutte, Miller, Brockbank, Thomason
Booked: Gilks
Goals: Jones 63

Referee: Craig Hicks

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Charlton Athletic 21 26
15 Cambridge United 21 26
16 Bolton Wanderers 21 26
17 AFC Wimbledon 19 24
18 Lincoln City 20 21
View Full Standings >>

Poll

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