Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Portsmouth

  • January 10, 2023 | By Chris Mann
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Jon Dadi Bodvarsson scored the only goal as Bolton booked their place in the semi-finals of the Papa Johns Trophy with victory over Portsmouth.

Bodvarsson struck with 17 minutes played at the University of Bolton Stadium, slotting beneath the body of goalkeeper Joshua Griffiths after Dion Charles had pressed the visiting defence into a mistake.

Ian Evatt has used the competition as an opportunity to hand minutes to a number of underutilised players this season and, therefore, it came as little surprise to see him make six changes to the team that started Saturday's goalless draw against Plymouth Argyle.

Will Aimson, Randell Williams, Aaron Morley, Kyle Dempsey, Conor Bradley and Kieran Lee all dropped to the substitutes' bench, where, despite reports linking him with a move elsewhere, they were joined by Amadou Bakayoko.

Ricardo Almeida Santos captained the team on his return from illness, whilst Owen Beck, Josh Sheehan, MJ Williams, Kieran Sadlier and Elias Kachunga were all handed starting roles.

One notable absentee was Oladapo Afolayan, amid speculation on social media pre-match that he has been the subject of interest from German side St Pauli.

There were nine minutes on the clock when the first sight of goal arrived, from which Josh Koroma found space just outside the Wanderers box before bringing James Trafford into a routine save.

Charles was causing havoc at the other end and minutes after he was harshly penalised for a foul on Connor Ogilvie, he was involved in a move which brought about the opening goal.

After Santos had rose to head a long-throw away from danger, Charles pressed two Pompey defenders on halfway and emerged with the ball, which he laid off for Bodvarsson to slot under the body of Griffiths.

George Johnston went into the referee's book soon after the half-hour, while the visitors were awarded a free-kick moments later for a foul by MJ Williams - from which Ronan Curtis saw a strike held by Trafford.

There was to be one final chance before the break, one which fell to the hosts, as Sadlier's low cross was only partially cleared and Beck's thunderous follow-up was headed behind by Sean Raggett.

The two teams returned unchanged for the second-half, which didn't really spring to life until 12 minutes in when Koroma's ball back to Joe Pigott resulted in a curling effort which was comfortably collected by Trafford.

Bradley and Randell Williams were introduced soon after the hour but it was Portsmouth who looked the team most likely to score next, with Curtis shooting over midway through the half after the visitors had hit Bolton on the counter.

Randell Williams made his presence felt with 20 minutes left to play, racing down the left flank before sending a wicked cross into the box which had to be clawed out from under his own crossbar by a backtracking Griffiths.

Curtis curled wide on 77 minutes, shortly before Randell Williams crossed into the area where substitute Bakayoko headed wide from a central position.

Bradley saw a strike blocked from the next attack, while Bakayoko's follow-up was collected by Griffiths, although a lapse in concentration at the other end almost resulted in a Portsmouth equaliser.

Trafford came racing out of his area to head a long ball clear, but Colby Bishop received possession and sent it back towards goal, only for Wanderers to be let off the hook as it bounced narrowly wide of the post.

Denver Hulme volleyed wide after Randell Williams had only partially cleared a cross from Michael Jacobs, but that was all Pompey had to offer as the game entered four added minutes for stoppages.

The final act of the evening actually went the way of the home side, as Griffiths was once again called into action to deny Bakayoko.

The full-time whistle blew to see Wanderers advance through to the semi-finals, where they will come up against one of Accrington Stanley, Cheltenham Town or Plymouth Argyle - with a place at Wembley Stadium awaiting the winners.

Bolton and Portsmouth meet again this coming Saturday, with the University of Bolton Stadium the venue yet again, only this time they face off in league competition.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos, Toal, Beck (R Williams 63), Sheehan (Dempsey 74), M Williams, Sadlier (Bradley 63), Kachunga, Bodvarsson (Morley 78), Charles (Bakayoko 74)
Subs Not Used: Aimson, Lee
Booked: Johnston
Goals: Bodvarsson 17

Portsmouth: Griffiths, Swanson (Freeman 63), Ogilvie, Raggett, Hume, Morrell (Thompson 63), Koroma (Jacobs 63), Pack, Curtis, Scarlett (Hackett 72), Pigott (Bishop 72)
Subs Not Used: Oluwayemi, Tunnicliffe, Hackett-Fairchild
Booked: Curtis

Referee: Bobby Madden
Attendance: 4,413

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