Burton Albion 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 15, 2022 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/7f8e2

Bolton's seven-game unbeaten run came to a crashing halt as they conceded three goals in the opening 18 minutes in defeat at Burton Albion.

Having shipped just four goals in their last seven outings - keeping four clean sheets in the process - Wanderers had moved away from relegation trouble and into unlikely play-off contenders, but their showing at the Pirelli Stadium perhaps shows the ground they still need to make up to be taken as serious contenders in League One.

For all the pre-match talk about the condition of the Brewers' pitch and the prospect of Storm Dudley, the Trotters were undone by three set-piece routines as the game was put beyond doubt inside 20 minutes.

Joe Powell and a brace from John Brayford put Albion on their way, while substitute Dion Charles notched his fifth goal since joining Bolton with a stoppage-time consolation at the end of the game.

With only three fixtures scheduled for this latest round of midweek games, Wanderers had the chance to draw level with 9th-placed Ipswich Town and so it came as no surprise to see Ian Evatt make a number of changes to the side that began at Oxford United on Saturday.

Will Aimson, Kyle Dempsey, Kieran Sadlier and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson were all named in the starting line-up, as Charles, Aaron Morley and Oladapo Afolayan all dropped to the substitutes' bench - with Gethin Jones not amongst the squad.

Following a recent victory over Charlton Athletic, Evatt highlighted the importance of set-pieces and admitted it had been an area that his team had been working on in training.

It didn't appear to be that way inside the opening 18 minutes, however, as the Brewers stormed into a three-goal advantage as Wanderers struggled to defend against long-throws and corners.

The opener came with 11 minutes played as Tom Hamer's throw towards the penalty spot was flicked on by Conor Shaughnessy, where Powell had gambled to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

Bolton looked for an immediate response and came close as Sadlier dragged a shot wide from just outside the area, but they would find themselves 2-0 down on 14 minutes as Albion struck yet again from a set-play.

Powell was the provider in this instance, as his corner evaded the attention of the Trotters defenders and Brayford was alive to head in unopposed via the underside of James Trafford's crossbar.

Brayford got his second - and Burton's third - four minutes later, again heading in past a helpless Trafford after Sam Hughes had recycled the play following Hughes' initial corner had been cleared.

Rocked by the nature of their early collapse, Bolton should have pulled one back on 20 minutes when Sadlier's effort was parried by Ben Garratt in the Albion goal, with Bodvarsson unable to slot in the rebound whilst under pressure from two defenders.

Garratt was at his best to retain his clean sheet on 25 minutes, pushing away a goalbound free-kick from Sadlier, while the only other sight of goal prior to the break flashed by with Dempsey volleying over from 25 yards in the closing stages of the half.

Surprisingly, there were no changes as the players returned for the second-half, which was halted almost as soon as it had started due to an apparent medical emergency within the home section of the crowd.

Play resumed after a five-minute delay, but it wasn't until the hour that the first effort on goal arrived. When that moment came, it was Sadlier who stood over a free-kick, only to see his bending attempt fly narrowly wide of Garratt's post.

Garratt was called into action on the hour, saving from Dempsey after he had latched on to a flick from MJ Williams, shortly before Amadou Bakayoko gambled on a clearance from Aimson before lashing a shot across the face of goal and behind.

The Burton goalkeeper was required again midway through the half, this time denying George Johnston as he headed a Declan John free-kick goalwards.

Afolayan was brought on in place of Sadlier for the final 18 minutes and his introduction almost paid off immediately, as he stepped inside from the right before stinging the palms of Garratt.

The Wanderers winger was on the ball again shortly thereafter, this time crossing for Ricardo Almeida Santos to head wide after Burton had only partially cleared a set-piece from John.

Afolayan struck the side netting in the latter stages as Bolton looked set to leave without so much as a goal for their second-half efforts, but they did salvage a semblance of pride in added time as Charles latched on to a flick from Bodvarsson before finding the net with a volley that looped over Garratt to see the game end at 3-1.

Defeat does nothing for Wanderers' play-off chances, with the gap between them and sixth-placed Plymouth Argyle still at eight points, but Evatt's side will have the opportunity to bounce back on Saturday when they host AFC Wimbledon at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Burton Albion: Garratt, Hughes, Brayford, Shaughnessy, Hamer, Gilligan, Mancienne (Leak 78), Kokolo, Powell (Maddox 86), Saydee, Ahadme (Taylor 90+2)
Subs Not Used: Kovar, Chapman, Blake-Tracy, Lakin
Booked: Mancienne
Goals: Powell 11, Brayford 14,18

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Aimson, John (Amaechi 85), Dempsey, Williams, Fossey, Sadlier (Afolayan 69), Bakayoko (Charles 66), Bodvarsson
Subs Not Used: Morley, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon
Booked: Williams
Goals: Charles 90+4

Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 3,487

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