Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Cambridge United

  • February 01, 2022 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/a8dae

Amadou Bakayoko and Oladapo Afolayan were on target as Bolton clocked up a fourth consecutive victory by beating Cambridge United at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Wanderers, who leapfrogged the U's into 11th place in the League One table as a result, broke the deadlock six minutes before half-time as Bakayoko pounced from close range to tap in his first goal since November.

The Trotters had to withstand an increase in pressure after the restart but settled the game on 70 minutes as Afolayan completed an outstanding individual effort by firing beyond Dimitar Mitov and into the roof of the net.

Back in action just four days on from their 6-0 drubbing of Sunderland, Ian Evatt made just one change as Bakayoko returned to take the place of the injured Kieran Lee.

Bakayoko took up a place alongside Dion Charles in attack, with Afolayan dropping into midfield to fill the void left by Lee's absence.

Back in the side and looking to find some consistency in his performances, Bakayoko had Bolton's first sight of goal inside three minutes as he poked over on the stretch after Aaron Morley's cross had been flicked on by George Johnston.

Home supporters in the East Stand thought their side had taken the lead moments later as Marlon Fossey fired into the side-netting, but their celebrations were short lived as the ball had flown just wide of the post.

Adam May shot over from the edge of the box as Cambridge attacked for the first time on eight minutes, shortly before Mitov was called into action for the first time as Charles turned a low cross from Afolayan goalwards.

Declan John had an effort deflect behind just after the quarter-hour, while Ricardo Almeida Santos headed narrowly over from the resulting corner.

Charles volleyed over as the clock reached the midway point of the half, but it was Cambridge who would come even closer to opening the scoring at the other end as Harvey Knibbs pounced on a poor clearance from Johnston to head against the post.

Fossey had already struck the side-netting with an earlier strike and he came close once again on the half-hour, being picked out by a far-post cross from John but only succeeding in volleying into the ground and out for a goal-kick.

He came even closer from the next attack, receiving the ball from Charles before seeing his goalbound shot deflect behind off Harrison Dunk.

Santos and Bakayoko were both inches away from turning a teasing cross from John over the line, before United suddenly burst into life as attempts from both Adam May and Sam Smith flashed inches wide.

Then, just as the visitors looked to be getting a foot hold in the game, Wanderers broke the deadlock as Afolayan found the overlapping run of John, whose cutback was turned into the net from close range by Bakayoko.

The hosts would take their lead into the break and they returned hungry for more after the restart, with Afolayan forcing Mitov into a save within five minutes of play resuming after he had combined well with Charles in the final third.

Appeals for a penalty were turned down by referee Andy Haines when Fossey went to ground under a challenge from Dunk, before a lull in play forced substitutions from both managers.

The next chance of note didn't arrive until midway through the half as Afolayan twisted and turned away from both George Williams and Ben Worman, only to see his strike parried away by the outstretched glove of Mitov.

But the goalkeeper was beaten with 20 minutes to play - Charles making the most of a mistake from James Brophy and feeding Afolayan, who drifted inside from the left before unleasing an unstoppable drive that flew into the roof of the net to make it 2-0.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who had earlier come on for Bakayoko, was denied a first goal in Wanderers colours with 75 minutes played, moments before Smith broke into the box at the other end before drilling high over James Trafford's crossbar.

With the points wrapped up, it came as no surprise to see any further goalmouth activity as Bolton collected a fourth consecutive victory to move into the top-half of the League One table for the first time since November.

There was also an individual record for Trafford, who became the first goalkeeper in Trotters history to register clean sheets in each of his first four competitive games for the club - breaking a record which had been held by Simon Farnworth for nearly 40 years.

Evatt's side will now focus on the possibility of breaking back into the top-ten this coming Saturday when they face Morecambe at the Mazuma Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Jones, John, Morley, Williams, Fossey, Afolayan (Sadlier 76), Bakayoko (Bodvarsson 64), Charles (Thomason 90+2)
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Aimson, Baptiste, Gordon
Booked: Williams
Goals: Bakayoko 39, Afolayan 70

Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Okedina, Iredale (Sherring 45), Dunk, Digby, Worman (Lankester 74), Knibbs (Tolaj 65), May, Brophy, Smith
Subs Not Used: Mannion, O'Neil, Bennett, Akanbi
Booked: Mitov

Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 13,334

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 >>

Poll

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