Cheltenham Town 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 23, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton won at Cheltenham Town to strike up a third consecutive victory that extends their unbeaten run to seven games.

After a goalless first-half at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, Wanderers broke the deadlock 12 minutes after the restart as Kieran Sadlier pounced to flick in a low cross from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

The visitors doubled their lead on 76 minutes when Oladapo Afolayan was fouled inside the box and substitute Amadou Bakayoko converted from the penalty spot.

Aaron Ramsey fired home a late consolation for Town, but they couldn't get themselves back on level terms as the Trotters' final away game of the season yielded all three points.

Ian Evatt made two changes to the team that started against Accrington Stanley on Easter Monday as Sadlier and Bodvarsson both returned, with Xavier Amaechi and Elias Kachunga dropping to the substitutes' bench.

With the action underway, it was the home side who fashioned the first opportunity of the afternoon as Alfie May latched on to the ball just outside the Wanderers area before seeing his bending strike fly narrowly over the top of James Trafford's crossbar with six minutes on the clock

Bolton's first sight of goal arrived shortly before the quarter-hour as Aaron Morley's corner was partially cleared by Elliot Bonds, only for Afolayan to retrieve the bouncing ball and testing the handling skills of Scott Flinders.

Wanderers should really have taken the lead two minutes later as Bodvarsson stole possession from Will Boyle and squared to Sadlier, who somehow skied over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Sadlier then struck the wall with a free-kick after Afolayan had been fouled, while May forced Trafford into a stop as he stood over a set-play at the other end just before the half-hour.

The visitors had struggled for chances as the half progressed into the final 10 minutes but they were back on the attack eight minutes before the break as Declan John found the overlap of Morley, whose ball back to Dion Charles resulted in a shot that was blocked by Will Boyle.

Afolayan then came close to striking his 15th goal of the campaign, once again pouncing after Cheltenham had only half-cleared a Morley corner, this time sending a rasping volley inches wide of the post with Flinders beaten.

Flinders was called into action again moments later, pushing Sadlier's drive behind, but it was Town who came closest to taking a lead into the interval as Kion Etete found May, whose surging run into the box ended in a powerful low strike that was expertly saved by Trafford.

Wanderers were forced into a change as the players returned for the second period, with an injured MJ Williams being replaced by a returning Kyle Dempsey.

There was little to call in the early exchanges following the restart, until the 52nd minute when Morley's corner delivery was headed over the top by Will Aimson.

John, with four goals to his name this campaign, was next to try his luck, racing away from Sean Long before seeing his goalbound effort blocked by Mattie Pollock.

The deadlock was broken on 57 minutes, though, as Morley's corner found Bodvarsson at the far post. The Iceland international took the ball under control and drilled it back across goal, where Sadlier had stolen a march on his marker to slot home at the near post.

Afolayan had the chance to double the advantage on the hour as he ghosted in behind Lewis Freestone but he couldn't direct his shot on target, as players from both teams became involved in a brief moment of pushing and shoving in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Evatt made a double substitution on 69 minutes as Bakayoko and Kachunga were introduced in place of Sadlier and Charles, and it was one of those changes which produced a second goal on 76 minutes after Afolayan was brought down in the box and referee Neil Hair pointed to the penalty spot.

After a verbal exchange between Afolayan and Bakayoko, the latter took responsibility of the ball and made no mistake from 12 yards - sending Flinders the wrong way to make it 2-0.

Cheltenham were desperate to get back in the game and came close when Trafford saved from a Pollock header on 80 minutes, before the Robins made theree changes in the space of four minutes.

One of those to be brought on was Ramsey, who made the most of a poor clearance from Trafford to fire in from outside the box to reduce the deficit to 2-1 as the clock entered the final minute of normal time.

Despite five added minutes for stoppages, there were to be no further chances as Cheltenham were beaten on their own patch by Wanderers for a second successive season.

Victory for Bolton keeps them in 10th position in the League One table, a position they will look to cement when they step out at the University of Bolton Stadium next Saturday for their final game of the campaign - Fleetwood Town providing the opposition.

Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Long, Pollock, Boyle, Lloyd (Brown 82), Sercombe (Ramsey 86), Bonds, Wright, Freestone, Etete (Williams 82), May
Subs Not Used: Evans, Raglan, Chapman, Hutchinson
Booked: Lloyd, Bonds
Goals: Ramsey 89

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Aimson, Jones, John, Morley, Williams (Dempsey 45), Sadlier (Bakayoko 69), Afolayan, Bodvarsson, Charles (Kachunga 69)
Subs Not Used: Amaechi, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon
Goals: Sadlier 57, Bakayoko 76(pen)

Referee: Neil Hair
Attendance: 5,228

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