Lincoln City 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • August 17, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Antoni Sarcevic scored the only goal as Bolton maintained their unbeaten start to the season with victory at Lincoln City.

Wanderers, whose most recent league win at the LNER Stadium (Sincil Bank) came back in November 1910, were below-par in the opening 45 minutes but much improved after the break and few could argue against them taking all three points.

The winning goal arrived 13 minutes from time as a mix-up in the Imps defence allowed Oladapo Afolayan a strike on goal. After his attempt was charged down, Elias Kachunga squared the ball for Sarcevic to fire home from just inside the box.

After opening the campaign with back-to-back 3-3 draws in league competition, Ian Evatt made two changes to the side that took to the field at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday as George Johnston and Liam Gordon came into the defence ahead of Alex Baptiste and the injured Declan John.

The hosts created the first shooting opportunity with less than three minutes on the clock. Hakeeb Adelakun was afforded too much time and space to pick out the run of Conor McGrandles, whose half-volley was smartly saved by Joel Dixon.

Regan Poole fired over the top on the quarter-hour, before Gordon's cross was just too far ahead of both Sarcevic and Eoin Doyle as Wanderers pressed forward for the first time at the other end.

Ricardo Santos headed over the top on 20 minutes after Amadou Bakayoko had headed Josh Sheehan's corner back across goal, shortly before Anthony Scully shot over the top for the hosts.

Scully turned provider as the clock ticked towards the half-hour, picking out Adelakun, who saw a first attempt blocked by Gordon before having a follow-up saved by Dixon.

Wanderers then had an excellent chance to break the deadlock at the other end as Doyle found a way into the Imps box, only to drag his shot wide whilst coming under pressure from a backtracking Adam Jackson.

Joshua Griffiths was called into action for the first time with 33 minutes played, making a routine save from a deflected Sheehan drive, shortly before Lasse Sorensen bent an attempt narrowly wide of the Trotters goal after a defensive mix-up.

Bakayoko was forced off with an injury six minutes before the break, handing Lloyd Isgrove a chance to impress, and the final chance of the half would fall the way of the visitors as a long-ball from Santos found Sarcevic, but his first touch was poor and the chance was gone - ensuring the sides went in goalless at the break.

There were no changes from either manager as the players returned for the second period.

The first sight of goal after the restart fell the way of the visitors, with Sheehan standing over a free-kick after Afolayan had been fouled in dangerous territory. Unfortunately for the Welshman, his set-piece struck the wall and bounced into the arms of Griffiths.

Lincoln were soon on the attack, though, and came close two minutes later as Sorensen picked out the run of Scully, who cut inside before curling his shot over the top.

Wanderers then came within inches of breaking the deadlock with 56 minutes on the clock, as Isgrove's deep cross from the left found Afolayan. His goalbound header was cleared off the line and up into the air, where it would bounce down off the crossbar before being bundled behind before Doyle could capitalise.

Afolayan was also involved in the next attack, testing the gloves of Griffiths from range, shortly before Scully was denied a clear run on goal by some expert defending from Gethin Jones.

Dixon was called into action for the first time in the second-half at the midway point, comfortably gathering a strike from Adelakun, before making another stop with 20 minutes to play as Sorensen's deflected drive bounced into his gloves.

The Bolton goalkeeper denied Sorensen again on 73 minutes, before watching on as Scully dragged an effort wide moments later.

The breakthrough finally came on 77 minutes, however, and it went the way of the Trotters.

With no apparent danger, goalkeeper Griffiths came rushing off his line to a full-back position and made a hash of a clearance. Afolayan won possession and saw a strike at goal blocked, from which the ball bounced into dangerous territory where Kachunga teed-up Sarcevic to drill into the net for 1-0.

Afolayan thought he'd doubled the advantage four minutes later, seeing a fierce drive fly inches wide of the post, while Sheehan also struck narrowly wide as the game entered the latter stages.

Four minutes of time were added for stoppages at the end of the game, during which Lincoln were handed a chance but Cohen Bramall's free-kick took a flick off a Wanderers wall and failed to trouble Dixon.

Referee Samuel Barrott called time with almost five additional minutes played, as Evatt's side made it four unbeaten at the start of a campaign for the first time since 2010/11.

Wanderers return to action this coming Saturday when they host Oxford United at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Lincoln City: Griffiths, Poole, Jackson, Melbourne, Edun, McGrandles (Fiorini 86), Bridcutt, Sorensen (N'Lundulu 81), Adelakun, Hopper, Scully (Bramall 75)
Subs Not Used: Long, Montsma, Jones, Longdon
Booked: Jackson

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Gordon, Johnston, Santos, Jones, Williams, Sheehan, Afolayan, Sarcevic (Lee 81), Bakayoko (Isgrove 39), Doyle (Kachunga 69)
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Brockbank, Thomason, Baptiste
Goals: Sarcevic 77

Referee: Samuel Barrott
Attendance: 9,130

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