Sunderland 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 25, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in nine months as Carl Winchester's solitary goal gave Sunderland victory over Wanderers at the Stadium of Light.

In what was the 150th competitive meetings between the two clubs, it was the Black Cats who took all three points after Dennis Cirkin broke free down the left flank before rolling a ball across the face of goal for Winchester to tap in with 17 minutes played.

Wanderers pushed forward in search of a point in the second period, coming close to an equaliser on a number of occasions, but it proved to be another fruitless afternoon for the visitors, who fired a blank for the fourth time in their last five league outings.

Despite falling to defeat at the hands of Rotherham United last time out, Ian Evatt kept faith with the same team for a third consecutive game as Bolton looked for a similar result to their last away outing - a 5-2 victory at Ipswich Town a fortnight prior.

The visitors began poorly on Wearside, with Joel Dixon almost handing the hosts an early goal as his heavy touch handed possession to Alex Pritchard. The Wanderers goalkeeper made amends with a sliding challenge, but took a blow to the face in the process that required several minutes of treatment to halt a flow of blood.

With the ball back in play, it was Bolton who fashioned the first real opportunity as Oladapo Afolayan's through ball was subsequently flashed across the face of goal by Lloyd Isgrove, where Gethin Jones wasn't quite able to prod home the opener.

The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes, although the goal came at the other end as Cirkin broke free down the left-hand side before drilling the ball across the six-yard box for Winchester to tap in unopposed at the far post.

Wanderers responded brightly and almost got back on level terms within five minutes of falling behind - Isgrove picking out the run of Jones, whose cross was prodded wide by Eoin Doyle.

Doyle was denied again with 27 minutes on the clock, with Thorben Hoffman spilling a deflected strike from Afolayan before making amends to block a rebound from the Irish forward.

Pritchard intercepted a wayward pass from Liam Gordon before firing over soon after the half-hour, moments before Antoni Sarcevic lashed over at the other end after Josh Sheehan had combined with Doyle from a short corner.

Dixon saved twice from Ross Stewart as Sunderland looked to double their advantage before the break, while George Johnston was at his absolute best with some outstanding last-ditch defending to thwart Pritchard and then Dan Neil in five added minutes for stoppages.

The home side began the second period in similar fashion to the way they had ended the first, and would have added to their lead within three minutes of the restart but for some outstanding goalkeeping by Dixon.

With bodies queuing up inside the penalty area, Aiden McGeady threaded a pass to Pritchard, who saw somehow denied from six-yards as Dixon ensured Bolton remained in the contest.

Winchester drove forward before shooting over on 54 minutes, shortly before a lenghty stoppage was required due to a clash of heads involving Isgrove and Cirkin - which would eventually lead to the withdrawal of both players.

Once the action had resumed, a set-piece delivery from Sheehan was met with a looping header from Doyle, but Thorben Hoffman made a superb save to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

Afolayan saw a strike deflect wide with a little under 20 minutes to play, before he turned provider on 79 minutes with a cross that was volleyed agonisingly wide at the back post by Johnston - with travelling supporters believing the ball had entered the net.

Doyle was halted by some last-ditch defending on two separate occasions as the clock ticked into the final five minutes, while seven minutes of stoppage time passed by without any realistic opportunity of Wanderers salvaging an equaliser.

Leon Dajaku lashed over for Sunderland in the final minute, but it mattered little for the Black Cats as they maintained their early season push for the League One title.

Bolton must recover quickly ahead of their next fixture, which sees them take in a long journey to Charlton Athletic this coming Tuesday.

Sunderland: Hoffmann, Winchester, Flanagan, Doyle (Wright 88), Cirkin (Huggins 66), O'Nien, Neil, McGeady, Pritchard (Dajaku 65), Embleton (Evans 66), Stewart
Subs Not Used: Burge, Alves, Broadhead
Booked: O'Nien
Goals: Winchester 17

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Gordon (John 72), Johnston, Santos, Jones, Sheehan (Lee 85), Williams, Afolayan, Sarcevic, Isgrove (Kachunga 61), Doyle
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Delfouneso, Thomason, Baptiste
Booked: Doyle, Afolayan, Santos

Referee: Sam Purkiss
Attendance: 32,368

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