Gillingham 0-3 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 05, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Aaron Morley, Declan John and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson were on target as Bolton won 3-0 at Gillingham, who played the final 29 minutes with 10 men.

Wanderers opened the scoring with 31 minutes played at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium as Morley took a pass from Marlon Fossey before curling a delightful strike into the top corner.

Gills, who had been second best all afternoon, were made to play the final half-hour a man light when Daniel Phillips was dismissed for a second bookable offence, and the visitors made their advantage count when John lashed home their second on 65 minutes.

Bodvarsson showed some trickery to add a third with four minutes to play, as the Trotters got their play-off push back on track with 10 games of the season to go.

Ian Evatt made three changes to the side beaten at Milton Keynes Dons last time out as Bodvarsson, Will Aimson and Oladapo Afolayan were handed starting roles.

Amadou Bakayoko dropped to the substitutes' bench while illness forced Kyle Dempsey to miss out against his former club, with Gethin Jones unavailable after being granted compassionate leave following the death of his mother.

Wanderers were superb in the opening 45 minute, enjoying 70% of the possession, but it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal as Ryan Jackson's long-throw was only partially cleared by Ricardo Almeida Santos, allowing Stuart O'Keefe a shot that was deflected behind off Bodvarsson.

Bolton's first chance arrived with 12 minutes played as Afolayan threaded a ball through to Dion Charles, who took it superbly inside the area before slicing his effort over the crossbar.

Charles spurned another glorious opportunity on the quarter-hour, this time pouncing after Aimson's attempt had deflected into his path, only to put the ball wide from six yards with only goalkeeper Aaron Chapman left to beat.

George Johnston volleyed over from a Morley corner soon thereafter, shortly before Afolayan stung the palms of Chapman after he had been teed up by Charles on the edge of the Gills box.

O'Keefe volleyed wide as Bolton struggled to deal with another long-throw into their area midway through the half, while Daniel Phillips dragged a shot narrowly wide of James Trafford's right-hand post as the hosts pushed forward shortly before the half-hour.

The deadlock was broken on 31 minutes, though, and it came as little surprise to see the goal go the way of the visitors.

Fossey advanced down the right flank and cut the ball back to the edge of the area where Morley, with the angle against him, curled a delicious strike into the far corner to make it 1-0 with his first in Wanderers colours.

Fossey was the provider for the opening goal and he came close to doubling the advantage two minutes later, drifting inside from the right before seeing a left-footed effort saved by Chapman.

The winger then had one more opportunity before the break, again coming in from the right. This time he played a neat one-two with Bodvarsson, before Chapman made another fine save to deny the American.

After a brief delay to the second period, brought on after a steward required medical attention in the away end, the action got back underway and the visitors immediately set about extending their lead.

Fossey was first to be denied, with the Gillingham defence putting their bodies on the line, before Afolayan saw a stinging drive from a narrow angle pushed over the top by Chapman.

Johnston headed over from a John corner on 57 minutes, while Charles was thwarted by another Chapman save just before the hour after he had received possession from the outstanding Fossey.

Gillingham's hopes ot getting back into the game were severely hampered on 61 minutes as Phillips, booked four minutes earlier for a lunge on Afolayan, hauled Bodvarsson to the ground as he looked to launch a counter-attack, leaving referee Craig Hicks with little option but to issue a red card.

Bolton could smell blood and doubled their advantage within four minutes as Bodvarsson's deflected shot was parried by Chapman, allowing John to fire home first-time to make it 2-0 and effectively put the game to bed.

Conor Masterson headed over from Ben Reeves' corner as the hosts made a rare venture forward on 72 minutes, while Wanderers were denied a third with less than 10 minutes to play as substitute Bakayoko slotted in - only for Fossey to have been ruled offside in the build-up.

Fossey did get his second assist of the afternoon on 86 minutes, however, playing the ball inside to Bodvarsson, who dummied his way past a defender before finding the corner with the outside of his boot to make it 3-0.

There were no further chances of report in the closing stages as the Trotters picked up three points that puts them back to within seven points of the final play-off place.

Evatt's side are back in action this coming Tuesday when they host another relegation-threatened side - Morecambe the visitors to the University of Bolton Stadium.

Gillingham: Chapman, Masterson, Ehmer, Tucker, Jackson, O'Keefe, Phillips, McKenzie, Carayol (Reeves 45), Thompson, Oliver (Kelman 87)
Subs Not Used: Dahlberg, Tutonda, Dickson-Peters, Lee, Maghoma
Booked: Phillips
Sent Off: Phillips

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Aimson, John, Morley, Williams (Thomason 87), Fossey, Afolayan (Sadlier 78), Bodvarsson, Charles (Bakayoko 78)
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Amaechi, Gordon, Senior
Booked: Williams
Goals: Morley 31, John 65, Bodvarsson 86

Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 5,109

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 >>


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