Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • October 09, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's three-match winning run came to an end as Lee Gregory scored the only goal to give Sheffield Wednesday victory at Hillsborough.

Wanderers, who went into the game having scored a total of 10 goals in their last three outings, looked comfortable for large periods but lacked a killer instinct that would ultimately prove to be their downfall.

The decisive goal arrived midway through the second period as Jack Hunt raced away from Declan John before rolling the ball across the six-yard box for Gregory to slot home from close range.

Following last Saturday's victory over Shrewsbury Town, Ian Evatt had revealed a number of his players had shown signs of fatigue following difficult away trips to Sunderland and Charlton Athletic in the week prior.

He made 10 changes for Wanderers' midweek Papa John's Trophy success over Liverpool U21, but reverted back to the team that started against Salop for the journey across the Pennines.

Kieran Lee and Elias Kachunga lined up against their former club for the first time since joining the Trotters, while Eoin Doyle kept his place ahead of Amadou Bakayoko in attack.

It was Wednesday who burst out of the blocks, though, and came close to taking the lead inside 15 seconds as Saido Berahino pounced on a poor pass from MJ Williams, raced towards goal but ultimately couldn't hit the target from the edge of the box.

Bolton immediately went down the other end and could have broken the deadlock themselves, with Kachunga stealing possession from Lewis Gibson before seeing his low ball across the face of the Owls box roll under the foot of Doyle.

Oladapo Afolayan was next to try his luck for the visitors, racing away from Dominic Iorfa and into the area, before seeing his strike fly into the side-netting.

Afolayan was involved again moments later, receiving the ball 25 yards from goal and seeing a shot blocked, before drilling a rebound narrowly wide of the post.

Antoni Sarcevic wasn't far away from a carbon-copy of his goal against Shrewsbury on the quarter-hour, this time curling over the top with what would prove to the the last venture forward for quite some time.

It wasn't until the 31st minute that either side found themselves back on the attack and when that did arrive, it was Wanderers who went in search of that elusive first goal.

Afolayan picked up the pace as he burst down the left-hand side and switched the play to Kachunga, whose cross into the box picked out the run of Doyle, only for his goalbound attempt to be blocked by a recovering defender.

Joel Dixon was called into action for the first time on 37 minutes, denying Lee Gregory after he had rose highest to meet a cross from Barry Bannan.

Dixon's goal was tested again four minutes later, with Berahino keeping the play alive as Ricardo Santos looked to shepherd the ball out of play. Berahino had little in the way of support so opted to go for goal, but could only ripple the side netting.

The final chance of the half went to Bolton in stoppage-time, although John's free-kick went inches past the far-post after Kieran Lee had been brought down by an already booked Iorfa.

With the game scoreless at the break, Evatt was clearly the happier of the two managers as Wednesday returned having made two substitutions - Dennis Adeniran and Cheyenne Dunkley on for Gibson and Sam Hutchinson.

With the action back underway, it was Bolton who fashioned the first opportunity as Afolayan's cross fell for John. His effort on goal looked to be heading wide, only to strike Doyle on its way behind.

Sarcevic had a shot blocked shortly before the hour mark, shortly before Jones picked up his fifth yellow card of the league campaign for a foul on Callum Paterson, meaning he will miss next Saturday's derby clash with Wigan Athletic.

Paterson was in the thick of the action again moments later, firing over Dixon's crossbar from the edge of the box, before the momentum of the game changed in an instant.

With Bolton pushing men forward into the final third, Afolayan went down on the edge of the Owls area. With many in the stadium expecting a penalty to be awarded, referee David Rock adjudged the Wanderers winger to have dived and subsequently showed him a yellow card.

To compound matters, the visitors fell behind just a minute later as Hunt found space at the opposite end of the field and rolled a ball across for Gregory, who slotted past Dixon to make it 1-0.

The Trotters went in desperate search of an equaliser and almost found it when Jones saw a strike blocked by Dunkley on 73 minutes, before Evatt reacted by making a triple substitution - introducing Josh Sheehan, Amadou Bakayoko and Lloyd Isgrove in place of Sarcevic, Doyle and Kachunga.

Despite having 15 minutes to get back on level terms, plus a further six added for stoppages, there was to be just one further chance for Bolton and that came with 10 minutes to play as John's cross-shot flashed inches wide of the far post with Bakayoko not quite able to stretch enough to slot in.

Defeat for Bolton sees them drop one place to 8th in the League One table, with their next outing coming next Saturday when they host Wigan at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer, Iorfa, Gibson (Adeniran 45), Hunt, Hutchinson (Dunkley 45), Bannan, Brown (Shodipo 74), Paterson, Berahino, Gregory
Subs Not Used: Render, Shodipo, Kamberi, Corbeanu, Wing
Booked: Iorfa, Shodipo
Goals: Gregory 66

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, John, Johnston, Santos, Jones, Lee, Williams, Afolayan, Sarcevic (Sheehan 74), Kachunga (Isgrove 74), Doyle (Bakayoko 74)
Subs Not Used: Delfouneso, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon
Booked: Jones, Afolayan

Referee: David Rock
Attendance: 23,692

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
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