Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Accrington Stanley

  • April 18, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came off the bench to score twice as Bolton beat Accrington Stanley 3-1 at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Wanderers, showing four changes to the side that won at Doncaster Rovers on Good Friday, went ahead three minutes before the break as Oladapo Afolayan netted his 14th goal of the season, but the visitors were level five minutes after the restart as Jay Rich-Baghuelou fired past former Stanley loanee James Trafford.

Bodvarsson was introduced in place of Elias Kachunga midway through the second period and took just two minutes to make his presence felt, firing into the roof of the net within two minutes of entering the fray, before adding his second of the afternoon in the dying stages to cap a comfortable afternoon for Ian Evatt's side.

That final goal came after Accrington were made to play the final eight minutes a man short after Rosaire Longelo was dismissed by referee Thomas Bramall for a lunge on Aaron Morley.

Starting the afternoon with somewhat of an experimental line-up, Evatt handed starts to Kachunga, Afolayan, Xavier Amaechi and Dion Charles - the last of whom began as a lone forward against his former employers.

Bodvarsson, Amadou Bakayoko, Kieran Sadlier and George Thomason all dropped to the substitutes' bench, with both teams having nothing but pride left to play for.

With the action underway, it was Accrington who fashioned the first shooting opportunity of the afternoon as Mitch Clark fired over from just outside the area on four minutes after a clearance had fallen kindly into his path.

Wanderers' first sight of goal came from the resulting goal-kick as Charles capitalised on some hesitant defending and teeing up Amaechi, who couldn't direct his attempt on target.

Tommy Leigh's dipping strike just cleared the crossbar moments later for the visitors, shortly before Sean McConville forced Trafford into his first save of the afternoon after he had pounced on some slack play at the back.

Ross Sykes and former Bolton loanee Ethan Hamilton were both off-target as Stanley continued to dominate in the final third towards the half-hour, but the hosts were looking threatening too and came close when Amaechi drifted in from the right-hand side before pulling a shot wide of Toby Savin's post on 31 minutes.

Leigh beat the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with Trafford from the next attack but opted to take his shot first time when he should perhaps have taken an extra touch, barely troubling the Trotters goalkeeper who made a routine stop.

Charles then came close to scoring for the first time since February 19, racing on to a headed clearance from George Johnston and beating Michael Nottingham for pace, only to roll his effort narrowly wide of Savin's right-hand post.

Nottingham was then involved at the other end, heading a free-kick from McConville straight into the gloves of Trafford, moments before Bolton broke up the other end and came close themselves as Afolayan curled just wide.

Afolayan had the ball in the net two minutes later, though, getting on the end of a clearance from Trafford and turning in from the left before beating a stranded Savin and making it 1-0 to the home side - a lead which they would take into the half-time break.

With both sides unchanged for the second period, Stanley raced out of the blocks and were unfortunate not to draw level inside 60 seconds of the restart as Colby Bishop's shot on the turn was well gathered by Trafford.

Morley's effort at the other end was blocked shortly thereafter, before Stanley equalised on 50 minutes through Rich-Baghuelou.

Bolton thought they had dealt with an initial long-throw into their box but the ball was recycled and pumped back into dangerous territory, where Rich-Baghuelou was found unmarked six yards out to volley in.

Evatt's tactical experiment seemed to come to an end midway through the half as Sadlier, Bakayoko and Bodvarsson were all introduced - with Amaechi, Charles and Kachunga all leaving the field of play.

Bakayoko and Bodvarsson were paired in a two-man attack, with Sadlier positioned out on the right and Afolayan shifted in a floating role.

Two of those substitutes would combine on 69 minutes as Bakayoko slid in Bodvarsson, who wouldn't be deterred by the narrowing angle, opting to smash the ball into the roof of the net to put Bolton ahead for a second time.

Accrington thought they had levelled for a second time on 73 minutes as Leigh had the ball in the net but referee Bramall brought a halt to their celebrations, consulting with his assistant and disallowing the goal for an offside after Trafford had been obstructed in his attempts to make a save.

Wanderers almost rubbed salt into the wound by adding a third five minutes later, but Sadlier couldn't quite stretch enough at the far post to make the desired contact with Bodvarsson's audacious cross.

Joe Pritchard sliced high and wide against his former club as the visitors pressed forward again, but Stanley's task was made all the more difficult eight minutes from time as Longelo went over the top in a challenge with Morley and was issued a straight red card by Bramall.

Despite their numerical advantage, Bolton didn't have the game sewn up and looked to do so by going in search of a third goal.

Afolayan turned inside a challenge from Liam Coyle and curled over with 87 minutes on the clock as Wanderers came close, but they did get that elusive goal in the closing stages of normal time as Bodvarsson controlled in the box before firing low past Savin to make it 3-1.

Five minutes of time was added for stoppages at the end of the game but there was to be no further goalmouth action, with Bolton picking up back-to-back wins that move them into the top-10 of the League One table with only two fixtures left to play.

The first of those arrives this coming Saturday when they hit the road for the final time this campaign, playing Cheltenham Town at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Aimson, Jones, John, Morley, Williams, Amaechi (Sadlier 65), Afolayan, Kachunga (Bodvarsson 67), Charles (Bakayoko 66)
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon
Booked: Afolayan, John, Amaechi, Williams
Goals: Afolayan 42, Bodvarsson 69,89

Accrington Stanley: Savin, Clark (Pritchard 73), Sykes, Nottingham, Rich-Baghuelou, Longelo, Leigh, Conneely (Coyle 78), Hamilton, McConville, Bishop
Subs Not Used: Isherwood, Butcher, O'Sullivan, Amankwah, Adedoyin
Booked: Clark, McConville, Baghuelou, Conneely
Sent Off: Longelo
Goals: Rich-Baghuelou 50

Referee: Thomas Bramall
Attendance: 19,098

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