Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Fleetwood Town

  • November 30, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Kieran Lee was on target as Bolton beat Fleetwood Town to book their place in the last 16 of the Papa John's Trophy.

With just 1,773 in attendance to witness events at the University of Bolton Stadium, Lee struck the only goal with 34 minutes on the clock as he swept home from the edge of the box after Eoin Doyle had squared the ball into his path.

After vowing to hand opportunities to a number of his academy prospects in the build-up to the game, it came somewhat as a surprise to see Ian Evatt make just two changes to the side that drew at home to Cheltenham Town on Saturday as Oladapo Afolayan returned from suspension in place of Elias Kachunga, while Alex Baptiste took up a place in defence as Ricardo Almeida Santos was given the night off.

As the rain poured, both teams had early sights of goal and it was Fleetwood who pressed forward first, with Cian Hayes taking control of the ball on the right-hand side before cutting in and forcing an early save out of Joel Dixon.

Wanderers were soon in full flow themselves, though, with Declan John finding space just outside the Town area, only to see his fizzing strike flash inches wide of Billy Crellin's far post.

John tried his luck again on nine minutes, receiving the play from Lee and once again letting fly, with Crellin this time required to parry away to safety.

The hosts continued to look the more likely scorers as the clock ticked beyond the 20-minute mark, with Liam Gordon this time the provider with a cross that Doyle took under control before seeing his effort deflect behind off Conor McLaughlin.

The deadlock was broken on 34 minutes and it came as little surprise to see Bolton hit the front, with Doyle breaking clear of the visitors' defence and opting to square to Lee, who swept in a first-time strike from the edge of the box to make it 1-0.

Hayes sent a shot narrowly over as Fleetwood looked to respond before the break but it wasn't to be, as Evatt's side took their advantage into the interval.

Connor Teale replaced McLaughlin in a half-time switch for the Cod Army, but it was the Trotters who remained on top.

It took them less than three minutes following the restart to register an attempt on goal, with Lee returning the favour afforded to him earlier by squaring to Doyle, whose first-time strike was saved by Crellin.

Afolayan curled a strike wide of the target shortly before the hour, after which the game entered a lull where neither looked likely to change the scoreline.

That, in part, may have inspired a triple substitution by Evatt with 20 minutes to play. Lee, Doyle and John were all hauled off, with Arran Pettifer, Kachunga and Nathan Delfouneso all on in their places.

Pettifer, one of those to be introduced, soon made his presence felt, handing possession to Xavier Amaechi, who cut in from the right before sending a long-range shot narrowly wide with his left foot.

Failure to find a second goal almost cost Wanderers in the final quarter-hour as Fleetwood came back into the tie, with Chris Conn-Clarke seeing a goalbound effort tipped behind by Dixon, while Hayes forced another save out of the goalkeeper from the resulting corner.

Matthew Tweedley and Mitchell Henry came on for Afolayan and Amaechi for the final six minutes but, again, it was Town who pushed forward in search of an equaliser that would have forced penalties.

Hayes was having success when drifting in from the right but this time opted to tee up Conn-Clarke, whose shot from the edge of the area appeared to clip the top of the crossbar on it's way over.

Seven minutes were added for stoppages at the end of the game, but there were to be no further moments of note as Wanderers ran down the clock to book their place in the last 16 of the Papa John's Trophy.

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Johnston, Baptiste, Aimson, John (Delfouneso 70), Thomason, Lee (Pettifer 70), Gordon, Afolayan (Tweedley 84), Amaechi (Henry 84), Doyle (Kachunga 70)
Subs Not Used: Gilks
Goals: Lee 34

Fleetwood Town: Crellin, Bird, Clark, McLaughlin (Teale 45), Boyle, Baggley, Johnston, Biggins (Raffie 75), Edmondson, McMillan (Conn-Clarke 61), Hayes
Subs Not Used: Rees, Batch, Edwards, Thompson
Booked: Biggins, Clark, Teale

Referee: Benjamin Speedie
Attendance: 1,773

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