Wigan Athletic 0-0 Bolton Wanderers (Pens: 5-4)

  • August 24, 2021 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/6f578

Bolton's Carabao Cup journey is over for another season after they were beaten on penalties by Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

In a game largely devoid of quality, it was clear to see the teams had made a combined 15 changes from their weekend league fixtures and so it perhaps came as little surprise that the tie ended goalless.

Both Wanderers and Latics made it to this stage by winning shootouts in the previous round, but it would be the hosts who progressed on this occasion - Nathan Delfouneso missing the decisive kick in sudden-death as the Trotters bowed out 5-4 on penalties.

Unbeaten in their opening five matches heading into the evening, Bolton lined up with only three of the players who began against Oxford United this past Saturday.

George Johnston, Josh Sheehan and Oladapo Afolayan were the trio to retain their places, with opportunities handed to Delfouneso, Matt Gilks, Kieran Lee, Harry Brockbank, Elias Kachunga, George Thomason, Alex Baptiste and Liam Gordon - with Gilks taking the captaincy from Antoni Sarcevic, who was named amongst the substitutes.

It took eight minutes for the first chance to arrive, which went the way of Latics. Kell Watts' corner from the left picked out Gavin Massey, whose header was straight at Gilks.

Wanderers' first sight of goal came two minutes later as Kachunga was fouled on the edge of the box, but Sheehan's free-kick was blocked by a wall before being cleared to safety.

Gwion Edwards dragged a shot wide from 25 yards as space opened up ahead of him just after the quarter-hour, before the home side almost went ahead in fortuitous circumstances as Gilks' save from a Stephen Humphrys shot bounced off James McClean before rolling wide.

McClean then turned provider from the next attack, with his cross being headed over the top by Watts, shortly before Humphrys drilled inches wide from just outside the box.

Bolton came close to taking the lead just after the half-hour as Delfouneso's cross from the right picked out an unmarked Afolayan at the far post, but he couldn't keep his strike down as the ball flew into the stand behind the goal.

Five players entered the referee's book as frustrations began to get the better of both teams towards the end of the half, which finished goalless.

If the opening 45 minutes had been a difficult watch for the 4,662 visiting supporters, the second period was one to forget as they watched their team attack towards an empty stand at the opposite side of the DW.

Chances really were at a premium for both teams, prompting the managers into substitutions - with Eoin Doyle, Gethin Jones and Sarcevic all introduced for the Trotters in place of Kachunga, Brockbank and Thomason.

The first real opportunity after the restart didn't actually arrive until 14 minutes from time, with McClean firing a free-kick into the gloves of Gilks after Afolayan had been booked for a foul on Thelo Aasgaard.

Some neat play involving Doyle and Delfouneso then set Jones free down the right-hand side. After advancing into the penalty area and with options difficult to find, the full-back saw a lot shot saved at the near-post by Jamie Jones.

After going untroubled until that point, Jones was required again to deny Afolayan moments later, while Gilks showed his agility at the other end by getting down low to parry away a goalbound strike from Aasgaard with five minutes to play.

Aasgaard volleyed straight at the Wanderers goalkeeper from the resulting corner, before the final chance of the game went the way of Bolton as Baptiste's header from a Sheehan free-kick was comfortably gathered by Jones.

And, so, to penalties it went and both teams were successful with their opening two strikes - Max Power and Aasgaard for Latics, Doyle and Sarcevic for Bolton.

The visitors briefly thought they had the advantage as Gilks saved from Jordan Jones, but Lee was thwarted by Jamie Jones as the scores remained level at 2-2.

Tom Naylor, Afolayan, Humphrys and Sheehan all converted to keep things level at 4-4 after five spot-kicks apiece, before goalkeeper Jamie Jones put Wigan into a 5-4 sudden-death lead.

Delfouneso stepped up knowing he needed to score to keep the Trotters alive, but he fired high and wide into the empty stand as his side were eliminated from the competition.

The fall-out will continue to be debated for days, but Evatt will be quick to shift focus to Saturday when Bolton return to league competition away at Cambridge United.

Wigan Athletic: Jamie Jones, Darikwa (Aasgaard 70), Naylor, Watts, Pearce, Smith, Power, Massey, Edwards (Lang 66), McClean (Jordan Jones 86), Humphrys
Subs Not Used: Amos, Long, Robinson, Lloyd
Booked: Smith, Darikwa, McClean, Power, Pearce

Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Gordon, Johnston, Baptiste, Brockbank (Jones 72), Thomason (Sarcevic 68), Lee, Afolayan, Sheehan, Delfouneso, Kachunga (Doyle 65)
Subs Not Used: Dixon, John, Santos, Tutte
Booked: Kachunga, Afolayan, Lee

Referee: Thomas Bramall
Attendance: 11,660

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
8 Burton Albion 13 19
9 Oxford United 12 18
10 Bolton Wanderers 13 18
11 Accrington Stanley 12 16
12 Portsmouth 12 15
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