Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 15, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Kieran Sadlier scored against his former club as Bolton won 2-1 at Doncaster Rovers to push the Reds towards relegation to League Two.

Sadlier struck 12 minutes from time at the Eco-Power Stadium, ghosting in unmarked at the far post to volley home a cross from substitute Oladapo Afolayan.

That came just a minute after Ademipo Odubeko had equalised for Rovers, who had trailed since the 47th minute when Amadou Bakayoko turned home a low cross from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

Ian Evatt made two changes to the side that faced against Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday, handing starts to Bakayoko and George Thomason as both Dion Charles and Elias Kachunga dropped to the substitutes' bench.

After a slow start from both teams, Bolton were presented with a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock with nine minutes played as Josh Martin's poor pass left goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell stranded outside his area. Bakayoko pounced to win a race to a loose ball but couldn't pick out a better positioned teammate and the chance was gone.

Bakayoko was involved again four minutes later, this time stealing a yard on his marker to meet Declan John's header back across goal, only to plant a header of his own narrowly over the crossbar.

Will Aimson denied Doncaster a certain goal midway through the half, keeping his eye on the ball to head away from an advancing Matt Smith, while James Trafford was called into action for the first time from the next attack to make a routine save from Martin.

Trafford saved from Martin again on 25 minutes and although he was beaten by a Tommy Rowe effort two minutes later, Rowe's strike bounced up and over via the top of the crossbar.

Wanderers were perhaps fortunate to keep 11 players on the pitch when Bakayoko was booked for a late challenge on Adam Clayton on the half-hour, and his presence on the field almost helped give the Trotters a lead three minutes later when his low cross in to Bodvarsson was just too far ahead of the Iceland international.

Bakayoko then combined with Bodvarsson to spearhead a counter-attack that ended with the former lashing narrowly wide of the far post, moments before Sadlier volleyed over from the edge of the box as he looked to silence the boos of his former supporters.

Smith pulled a shot wide from just inside the Bolton box as Doncaster looked to end the half on a high, while the final effort before the interval fell the way of the visitors as Aaron Morley's goalbound strike was blocked by Joseph Olowu.

Despite going in goalless at the break, there were no changes from either manager as the players returned for the second period.

It was that decision to stick which rewarded the visitors with the opening goal within two minutes of the restart, as Bodvarsson pressed forward from halfway and squared for Bakayoko, who had the simple task of slotting in from close range for his 12th of the campaign.

Doncaster should have drawn level on 55 minutes, though, as Smith put Aidan Barlow in the clear, but Trafford stood tall to make an outstanding one-on-one save to keep his side ahead.

A lull in play saw Bakayoko withdrawn midway through the half, with Charles on in his place, but it was the home side who continued to look the more likely scorers as Martin's deflected free-kick brought a superb reaction save out of Trafford on 73 minutes.

Kachunga and Afolayan were introduced in place of Bodvarsson and Thomason for the final quarter-hour as Evatt looked to inject some fresh legs into his attack, but it was Rovers who once again looked the most likely to score next.

They fired a warning shot when Martin struck over on 75 minutes but the home side were level two minutes later as Odubeko gave Trafford no chance with an effort from inside the box.

Parity was restored for little over a minute, however, as Afolayan found possession on the left-hand side and crossed towards the far post, where Sadlier stole in unmarked to volley home against his former employers and give Bolton a 2-1 lead.

Sadlier looked to add to his tally five minutes later but could only curl his free-kick over the top, while Doncaster were only a touch away from a second equaliser as Rowe's ball across the face of goal couldn't be converted by anybody in the middle.

Morley curled over from just outside the area inside six added minutes for stoppages but there was to be no further goalmouth activity, with Wanderers running down the clock to register three points on the road.

Evatt's side are now out of contention for a play-off place, although their latest victory means they are all but guaranteed to finish in the top-11 - where they currently find themselves with three games left to play.

The first of those falls this coming Monday, when the Trotters play host to Accrington Stanley at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Doncaster Rovers: Mitchell, Knoyle, Williams, Olowu, Rowe, Smith (Dodoo 88), Clayton, Bostock (Odubeko 74), Barlow (Galbraith 55), Griffiths, Martin
Subs Not Used: Jones, Younger, Jackson, Gardner
Booked: Galbraith, Williams
Goals: Odubeko 77

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Aimson, Jones, John, Morley, Williams, Sadlier, Thomason (Afolayan 74), Bakayoko (Charles 66), Bodvarsson (Kachunga 74)
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Amaechi, Baptiste, Gordon
Booked: Williams, Thomason, Bakayoko, Johnston
Goals: Bakayoko 47, Sadlier 78

Referee: James Oldham
Attendance: 8,668

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