Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Oxford United

  • October 29, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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After falling behind for a third consecutive game, Bolton couldn't quite muster another comeback as they were comfortably beaten 3-1 by Oxford United.

After fighting back to take three points against both Accrington Stanley and Burton Albion over the course of the past week, there was a sense that all wasn't lost when Dion Charles struck 17 minutes from time to make it 2-1 - after United had gone into a two-goal lead through Djavan Anderson and Ciaron Brown.

Charles was a matter of inches away from equalising moments after his strike had reduced the deficit and it would prove costly as the visitors put the result beyond doubt on 79 minutes, when Steve Seddon bundled the ball home from a corner.

Ian Evatt made four changes to his starting line-up following the midweek success against Burton, with Josh Sheehan, MJ Williams, Kieran Lee and George Johnston were all recalled. Oladapo Afolayan, George Thomason, Aaron Morley and Kyle Dempsey all dropped to the bench.

With the action underway, both sides had early sighters as Brown send a cross into the side netting inside five minutes for the away side, while Jack Iredale was denied a clear strike on goal moments later as Sam Long tracked back to make a timely clearance from Sheehan's cross.

Neither goalkeeper had made a save as the clock ticked towards the 25-minute mark, when Oxford took advantage of some slack defending to break the deadlock.

Gatlin O'Donkor was picked out by a cutback and saw his attempt on goal blocked, but Anderson reacted quickest to fire home the rebound and put United one-up.

A trio of yellow cards would follow as O'Donkor, Cameron Brannagan and Marcus McGuane were cautioned by referee Ollie Yates, as the U's resorted to slowing the game down by using obstructing and dissent tactics.

Wanderers' frustrations were evidently clear at this point and they were thankful to James Trafford on 38 minutes as United's lead was kept to one, with the goalkeeper reacting smartly to deny Elliott Moore after he sent a header goalwards from Brannagan's cross.

The hosts broke quickly and thought they had been awarded a penalty when Elias Kachunga went to ground, but the officials awarded a free-kick the other way due an offside against the forward.

Momentum was certainly on Bolton's side at this stage and they came agonisingly close to an equaliser shortly before half-time when Conor Bradley picked out the overlap of Gethin Jones, whose low cross seemed destined for a Sheehan tap-in but Simon Eastwood stuck out a boot to make an outstanding save.

That kept Oxford's advantage going into the break, after which both managers made a substitution - Afolayan replacing Iredale for Wanderers, while Seddon came on for Sam Long on the opposing side.

After ending the opening 45 minutes on the back foot, United began the stronger following the restart and came close on 52 minutes when Brannagan dragged a shot wide after he had latched on to Kyle Joseph's pass.

It would be 2-0 from the next attack, though, as Brown turned away from Bradley in central midfield and was afforded acres of space from which he picked his spot, finding the bottom corner of Trafford's goal from 25 yards.

Sheehan and Kachunga made way for Dempsey and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson on the hour and it was the latter of those who would have the next two chances. First, his sliced shot sparked a foot race between he and Eastwood, from which the Iceland international kept the ball in play and worked himself into a central position where his effort was ultimately high and wide.

Morley and Kieran Sadlier were thrown in midway through the half as Evatt looked to inject some fresh legs into a struggling midfield, moments before Afolayan drifted inside from the left and sent a tame effort straight into the gloves of Eastwood.

Wanderers did get one back with 17 minutes to play as Bradley latched on to a flick from Sadlier and picked out the run of Charles, who slotted the ball under the body of the Oxford goalkeeper to make it 2-1.

Less than two minutes later, Charles was inches away from an equaliser. Bodvarsson played the ball back for Morley, whose far-post cross towards the far post was just too far ahead of the Northern Irish forward as the goal waited ahead of him.

Bolton's press for a leveller was over on 79 minutes, however, as a game of pinball inside the six-yard box saw the ball bounce off Seddon and in as Oxford took a 3-1 lead from which the hosts weren't going to recover from.

In fact, they failed to create another shooting opportunity as Evatt's side fell to defeat for the first time in five games.

They end the month in 6th and occupying a play-off place in the League One table, ahead of next week's Emirates FA Cup first-round tie at home to Barnsley.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Jones, Iredale (Afolayan 45), Sheehan (Dempsey 60), Williams (Morley 66), Bradley, Lee (Sadlier 66), Kachunga (Bodvarsson 60), Charles
Subs Not Used: Thomason, Beck
Booked: Williams, Santos
Goals: Charles 73

Oxford United: Eastwood, Long (Seddon 45), Moore, Findlay, Brown, Bate (Goodrham 81), Brannagan, McGuane (Rodriguez 81), Anderson (Henry 70), O'Donkor (Browne 70), Joseph
Subs Not Used: McGinty, Jones
Booked: O'Donkor, Brannagan, McGuane, Rodriguez, Seddon
Goals: Anderson 25, Brown 53, Seddon 79

Referee: Ollie Yates
Attendance: 17,281

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Portsmouth 19 42
2 Bolton Wanderers 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