Ipswich Town 2-5 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 11, 2021 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/c118b

Oladapo Afolayan scored twice on his 24th birthday as Bolton brushed aside Ipswich Town with a thumping 5-2 victory at Portman Road.

Despite falling behind to Macauley Bonne's 5th-minute opener, Wanderers levelled with 10 minutes played as Afolayan became the first Trotters player to score on his birthday since Jay-Jay Okocha did so against Charlton Athletic in August 2004.

Afolayan was the instigator for the visitors going ahead on 18 minutes, winning a penalty that was converted by Eoin Doyle, but the hosts were level on the half-hour as Ricardo Santos put through his own goal.

Bolton would go in 3-2 up at the break as Afolayan scored his second of the afternoon, while Josh Sheehan marked his return from international duty with his third of the campaign within two minutes of the restart to make it 4-2.

George Johnston would add a fifth shortly before the hour - his first in Wanderers colours - as Ian Evatt's side responded superbly to criticism directed their way following Monday's goalless draw against Burton Albion.

Having produced one of their best all-round displays in recent memory against the Brewers last time out, Evatt decided to make just one change as Sheehan returned from Wales-duty to take the place of Kieran Lee in central midfield.

Sheehan's influence has been clear to see since his summer arrival from Newport County and he almost helped provide the opening goal within three minutes, as his cross was headed just over the top by Antoni Sarcevic.

Wanderers went into the game with a dismal record in Suffolk and that looked set to continue just two minutes later as Wes Burns outmuscled Liam Gordon and played the ball across the face of goal, where Bonne was found unmarked to tap in from close range.

Bolton responded brightly and would have had a one-on-one with the Ipswich goalkeeper but for some outstanding last-ditch defending that denied Lloyd Isgrove, but they were level on 10 minutes as a frantic half of football began to take shape.

Santos' diagonal ball from halfway found Gordon in an advanced position on the left-hand side. His cushioned header into the box picked out Afolayan, who turned well before shooting through the legs of Christian Walton.

Ipswich were struggling to deal with the threat of Afolayan, who won a penalty in the 18th minute as he was felled by Kane Vincent-Young - who was fortunate to escape a second yellow card from referee Bobby Madley.

Doyle stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and made no mistake from 12 yards, slotting straight down the middle as Walton shifted to his right to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

Bolton's lead was wiped out on the half-hour, though, with Burns once again racing away from Gordon. His low cross got the better of George Johnston, before going into the net off the unfortunate Santos to make it 2-2.

Conor Chaplin fired over as the hosts looked to take a lead three minutes later, moments before he headed over from another attack as Hayden Coulson crossed into dangerous territory.

Then, just as the sides looked set to head in all-square at the break, Wanderers suddenly found a lead through a real moment of quality.

Gethin Jones burst forward from right-back and exchanged passes with Doyle, before spraying the ball out wide to Afolayan. He drifted in from the left, shifted the ball to his right foot and curled a beauty into the far corner to send Evatt's side in 3-2 up at the interval.

Despite a topsy-turvy opening 45 minutes, neither manager looked to their substitutes for the start of the second period - a decision that was fully justified on the part of Evatt as Bolton added to their lead within two minutes of the restart.

After Sarcevic had seen an initial strike saved by the legs of Walton, the ball returned to the Wanderers captain. He picked out Sheehan with a pin-point pass, which was slotted into the corner to make it 4-2.

That would soon become 5-2 as Santos found himself in unfamiliar territory on the right-hand side. His cross found Johnston, whose header was blocked by a defender, but he responded well to fire the loose ball into the net on the rebound.

Bonne volleyed against a post as Ipswich looked for an unlikely route back into the game on 65 minutes, shortly before Lee Evans saw a 30-yard free-kick comfortably gathered by Joel Dixon.

Walton made a save from Doyle as the clock ticked into the final 20 minutes, and that would ultimately prove to be the final goalscoring opportunity of the afternoon - with Bolton happy to retain possession in midfield and snuffing out any counter-attacking threats that Ipswich had to offer.

Elias Kachunga, Kieran Lee and Alex Baptiste were all given minutes, with Isgrove, Sheehan and Johnston all afforded time to rest on what will go down as a five-star performance from Bolton.

They now have a full week to recover ahead of their return to home soil next Saturday, when Rotherham United are the visitors to the University of Bolton Stadium.

Ipswich Town: Walton, Vincent-Young (Donacien 21), Edmundson, Burgess, Coulson, Harper, Evans, Burns (Jackson 84), Chaplin (Carroll 63), Aluko, Bonne
Subs Not Used: Holy, Penney, Pigott, Barry
Booked: Vincent-Young
Goals: Bonne 5, Santos 30(og)

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Gordon, Johnston (Baptiste 81), Santos, Jones, Sheehan (Lee 74), Williams, Afolayan, Sarcevic, Isgrove (Kachunga 62), Doyle
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Delfouneso, Aimson, Thomason
Booked: Isgrove, Jones
Goals: Afolayan 10,45+2, Doyle 18(pen), Sheehan 47, Johnston 57

Referee: Bobby Madley
Attendance: 19,267

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