Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Peterborough United

  • September 17, 2022 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Oladapo Afolayan came off the substitutes' bench to score the only goal as Bolton registered a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions.

Afolayan, who hasn't started a league fixture since the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday a month ago, was introduced in place of birthday-boy Kyle Dempsey with 20 minutes to play and settled a feisty affair in which both sets of players looked mentally and physically fatigued at the final whistle.

The game's only goal came with four minutes left on the clock as Afolayan took control of possession and drove at goal before seeing a deflected drive bounce past a wrong-footed Lucas Bergstrom and into the net.

Having gone to Milton Keynes Dons and taken all three points on Tuesday, Ian Evatt was expected to make a number of changes but opted for just one as Dempsey came in for Kieran Lee in midfield, while Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was back amongst the substitutes after missing a number of games with a hamstring strain.

A minute's silence was observed prior to kick-off in memory of Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, while the National Anthem was performed following a moment of prayer from Club Chaplain Phil Mason.

With the pre-match formalities over and the action underway, Dempsey's return looked like it could have been over inside the opening 90 seconds as he went down in some pain after taking a hit to his lower leg. Lee was readied and set to be introduced, but Dempsey responded to treatment and was able to continue.

There was little to call in the early stages, with neither side managing to register a single shot on target inside the opening 45 minutes.

The first sight of goal arrived midway through the half as the visitors pushed forward through Nathan Jones, but Gethin Jones was perfectly positioned to hook the ball to safety as bodies lined up behind him.

Jeando Fuchs was the first of four players to receive a first-half caution as he slid in late on Dempsey, with George Johnston the first to go in the book for Wanderers on 36 minutes after he took out Nathan Thompson after the ball had gone out of play.

That incident happened just moments after Johnston had put the ball in the net for the hosts, but referee Carl Brook had already blown for a foul in the build-up as Jack Iredale swung a corner on from the right.

Conor Bradley's looping cross just evaded Bergstrom's crossbar on 37 minutes. Ben Thompson sliced wide at the other end moments later, before James Trafford came rushing out of his area to slide in on Jonson Clarke-Harris as he broke free of former Posh defender Ricardo Almeida Santos.

Bolton should have broken the deadlock on 41 minutes as Dion Charles threaded Bradley clean through, but he couldn't hit the target from a narrow angle as his lofted strike flashed over the bar.

Three minutes of time was added at the end of the half during which Iredale's corner pinballed around the box before being headed agains the post by Jones, while Johnston couldn't quite turn home the loose ball and was booked for lunging in. Josh Knight was also shown a yellow card for his protestations.

Despite going in goalless at the break, neither manager made a change as the players returned for the second-half.

Wanderers had a great chance to open the scoring within 90 seconds of the restart as Bradley broke free down the right and cut the ball back for Dempsey, but the Peterborough defenders quickly closed his route to goal and made a timely block.

Iredale was next to have a sight of goal as Charles and Bradley combined in the area, with the latter crossing to the far post where Iredale's low shot was saved by Bergstrom.

Bolton continued to look dangerous and hit United on the counter on 53 minutes. Charles and Santos surged forward with intent and after a miscommunicated one-two between the pair, Charles struck fiercely at goal but saw his effort tipped behind by the goalkeeper.

Both sides made double changes as the clock reached the final 20 minutes, with Evatt making a further two as Kieran Sadlier and Amadou Bakayoko were introduced to add more of an attacking threat in the latter stages.

It always looked like a mistake of a moment of magic was going to settle the game and therefore it came as no surprise to see Bolton break the deadlock in the circumstances they did with only four minutes left to play.

Afolayan received the ball midway inside the Peterborough half and raced towards goal, setting his sights from 25 yards before seeing his shot deflect off a defender and beyong a wrong-footed Bergstrom before bouncing into the net.

From that point on, Wanderers played the game and took two tactical bookings as MJ Williams was cautioned for dissent and Sadlier for kicking the ball away.

Five minutes of stoppage time went by without any threat on their goal, however, as Bolton saw out time to pick up a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions and consolidate their position in the League One play-off places.

They return to action at Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday as the Trotters continue their Papa Johns Trophy schedule, while their next league outing comes against Lincoln City in a fortnight's time.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Jones, Iredale (Sadlier 78), Thomason, Williams, Bradley, Dempsey (Afolayan 70), Kachunga (Bodvarsson 70), Charles (Bakayoko 83)
Subs Not Used: Aimson, Morley, Lee
Booked: Iredale, Johnston, Williams, Sadlier
Goals: Afolayan 86

Peterborough United: Bergstrom, N Thompson, Knight, Edwards, Burrows, Fuchs (Kyprianou 88), Taylor (Marriott 88), B Thompson, Poku (Ward 62), Clarke-Harris, Jones (Mason-Clark 61)
Subs Not Used: Blackmore, Kent, Tomlinson
Booked: Fuchs, Knight, Kyprianou

Referee: Carl Brook
Attendance: 17,016

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Bolton Wanderers 18 39
2 Portsmouth 18 39
3 Oxford United 18 36
4 Stevenage 20 36
5 Peterborough United 19 35
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2022/23 Player of the Year?
25.9% Conor Bradley
22.3% James Trafford
20.09% Dion Charles
10.05% Kyle Dempsey
6.82% Aaron Morley
6.45% Ricardo Almeida Santos
3.5% George Johnston
3.32% Eoin Toal
1.01% Kieran Lee
0.55% Gethin Jones