Oxford United 2-3 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 12, 2022 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/328e8

Amadou Bakayoko struck four minutes from time as Bolton twice came from behind to beat Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.

Wanderers, who had twice trailed to goals from Billy Bodin, quickly drew level on both occasions as Declan John and Marlon Fossey ensured the sides went in level at the break with the score at 2-2.

The second period didn't quite live up to the same intensity that the previous 45 had brought, but it was the visitors who took the points as Fossey turned provider for Bakayoko to slot in from close range with 86 minutes on the clock.

With signs of fatigue clearly beginning to show in recent displays against both Morecambe and Charlton Athletic, Ian Evatt made three changes to the team that started in midweek as George Johnston, Amadou Bakayoko and Kieran Lee returned in place of Will Aimson, Oladapo Afolayan and Kyle Dempsey.

Despite that sudden injection of freshness, it was Oxford who began the stronger and fired a warning shot inside five minutes as Bodin cut the ball back from the byline and Matty Taylor's strike across goal flashed inches wide of James Trafford's far post.

They were ahead just four minutes later, however, as Bodin stood over a free-kick on the corner of the penalty area. Where many would have expected a cross, he took aim for the far corner and found the net to send Oxford into an early lead.

They were pegged back within 30 seconds of kick-off though, as Dion Charles and Aaron Morley combined. The latter spread the play to John, who advanced into the box before firing low and hard past Jack Stevens and into the bottom corner to level the scores at 1-1.

Trafford made his first save of the afternoon with quarter-of-an-hour played as he got down to deny Cameron Brannagan, before Wanderers were forced into an early change as Dempsey replaced Lee - who was seemingly pointing to his ankle as he left the field.

With the ball back in play, Charles put Bakayoko clean through on goal. But instead of taking a shot with his weaker right foot, the forward cut inside onto his left where his eventual strike was saved by Stevens.

Ricardo Almeida Santos then headed over after Morley had collected a short-corner from John, but Oxford went ahead for a second time on 32 minutes as Bodin grabbed his second of the game.

After Bakayoko had been outmuscled midway inside the opposition half, United worked the ball down the right-hand side and drifted infield towards Bodin. He twisted and turned away from MJ Williams just outside the area, before curling a left-footed attempt into the corner beyond Trafford.

But Wanderers refused to lie down and were level yet again inside six minutes. On this occasion, Morley's delivery was only half-cleared by Elliott Moore, allowing Fossey to control with his right before picking out the top corner with an outstanding left-footed curler - with his celebrations all the more impressive.

Oxford would have the final attack of the half and should have retaken the lead, but Trafford stood tall to save from Gavin Whyte and ensure the sides went in level at 2-2.

There were no changes in personnel as the players returned for the second-half, which began with Brannagan firing a half-chance over the crossbar as Oxford started on the front foot.

Bolton were soon back on the attack, though, with Charles bringing Stevens into a routine save on 54 minutes, while Matty Taylor dragged a shot wide for the home side as the clock ticked beyond the hour.

The two teams largely cancelled each other out for much of the half, with substitutions and yellow cards the only thing to write home about, but suddenly the visiting supporters were back on their feet with four minutes of normal time remaining as Bakayoko slotted in what would prove to be the winner.

A through ball from Gethin Jones released Fossey down the right-hand side, whose first-time ball into the box picked out an unmarked Bakayoko, who slotted in beyond Stevens from inside the six-yard box.

Four mintues of additional time was indicated at the end of the game, but Wanderers would survive two scares from set-pieces to hold on and claim a vital three points in their unlikely rise up the league table.

Evatt's side, who have now picked up 19 points from their last available 21, remain 10th in League One but have cut the gap between themselves and the play-offs to eight points with 15 games still to play.

Next up for the Trotters is another away outing this coming Tuesday, with Burton Albion providing the opposition at the Pirelli Stadium.

Oxford United: Stevens, Long, Moore, McNally, Seddon (Baldock 87), Kane, Brannagan, Whyte (Williams 75), Bodin (McGuane 65), Sykes, Taylor
Subs Not Used: Eastwood, Brown, Winnall, Forde
Booked: Moore, Kane, Seddon
Goals: Bodin 9,32

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Jones, John, Morley (Afolayan 67), Williams, Fossey, Lee (Dempsey 20), Bakayoko, Charles (Bodvarsson 78)
Subs Not Used: Amaechi, Aimson, Sadlier, Baptiste
Booked: Afolayan
Goals: John 10, Fossey 38, Bakayoko 86

Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 10,027

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