Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 19, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Amadou Bakayoko scored in the final minute of normal time as Bolton beat Crewe Alexandra 1-0 at the Mornflake Stadium.

Bakayoko, who was introduced as a 72nd-minute substitute for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, scrambled home in the dying stages as George Johnston kept the play alive after a free-kick from Kieran Sadlier had been pushed onto the post.

It was Bakayoko's sixth strike this season after coming off the bench - a total only bettered by Michael Ricketts (20), Dean Holdsworth (9) and Henrik Pedersen (8) in club history.

Ian Evatt made just one change to the side beaten by Plymouth Argyle last time out as Sadlier started on the right-hand side of midfield, taking the place of Marlon Fossey after he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

There was little to call inside the opening quarter-hour, after which the first chance of the afternoon fell the way of the hosts.

Tom Lowery managed to keep the ball in play on the byline and crossed low for Luke Offord, but Will Aimson managed to adjust his feet and make a timely clearance to keep the game scoreless.

A seven-minute stoppage would then follow due to a medical incident in the away section of the ground, with play resuming with 28 minutes on the clock.

Still, neither side managed to fashion any chances of note but there was a controversial moment on 34 minutes as both Oladapo Afolayan and Travis Johnson were booked be referee Sam Purkiss after the Wanderers attacker had been pushed over the advertising hoardings by the Alex defender.

Afolayan was fit to continue and was involved in a move which almost brought about the opening goal two minutes later, crossing for George Johnston to head over after Aaron Morley's corner had only been partially cleared.

10 minutes of stoppage time was indicated by the fourth official, during which Sadlier took aim with a 30-yard free-kick that was parried away by Dave Richards - the only save either goalkeeper had been required to make in the entire half.

There were no changes as the players returned for the second-half, which began with Afolayan meeting a cross from Aimson but only succeeding in heading straight into the gloves of Richards.

Afolayan was involved again moments later, this time pouncing after Sadlier's cross was only half-cleared. He picked out the run of MJ Williams whose first effort was blocked, before seeing a follow-up fly narrowly over the crossbar.

Wanderers continued to look dangerous inside the opening 10 minutes of the half and came even closer with 52 on the clock, with Afolayan beating Richards but turning away in frustration after seeing his strike come back off the base of the post.

Dion Charles shot over soon after the hour, although Crewe reminded the visitors that they were in a game when former Trotters loanee Chris Long raced away from Ricardo Almeida Santos before dragging a shot wide of James Trafford's goal.

Santos was then involved at the other end, finding himself in unfamiliar territory with a thunderbolt of a strike that was parried behind by Richards, after Morley and Sadlier had combined at a free-kick.

Bakayoko and Elias Kachunga were both introduced in the final 20 minutes as Bolton looked to make their territorial advantage count, but again it was Alex who almost stole a lead as a weak header from Santos put Bassala Sambou clear on goal only for his lobbed attempt to be claimed well by an exposed Trafford.

With time running out and the game seemingly set for a goalless draw, Wanderers took the points in the final minute of normal time as they were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal.

Sadlier saw his attempt parried onto the post by Richards, but Johnston kept the ball alive and crossed low where Bakayoko stole a yard on his marker to prod in at the first attempt.

Victory does nothing for Bolton's league position, keeping them in 11th place, but they do close the gap on the final play-off place to nine points with just seven league games remaining.

With next Saturday's fixture against Portsmouth postponed due to international call-ups, Wanderers now face a two-week break before returning to action on April 2 at Wigan Athletic.

Crewe Alexandra: Richards, Johnson, Offord, Williams, Lundstram, Harper (Porter 77), Lowery, Ainley (Griffiths 82), Finney (Murphy 70), Sambou, Long
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, O'Riordan, Lawton, Salisbury
Booked: Johnson

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Aimson, John, Morley, Williams (Dempsey 80), Sadlier, Afolayan (Kachunga 75), Bodvarsson (Bakayoko 72), Charles
Subs Not Used: Amaechi, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon
Booked: Afolayan
Goals: Bakayoko 90

Referee: Sam Purkiss
Attendance: 5,985

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