Portsmouth 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 28, 2023 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/0f50b

Dion Charles' 18th goal of the season proved to be in vain as Bolton were beaten 3-1 by Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

After a scoreless first-half, Charles broke the deadlock within three minutes of the restart as he bundled in from close range after Eoin Toal's initial effort had been cleared off the line.

Pompey drew level on 73 minutes as Joe Rafferty's free-kick evaded everybody before being headed in by Ryley Towler, who grabbed his second of the evening with six minutes left to play, this time converting from Joe Morrell's delivery.

Having conceded from two set-plays in such a short space of time, the Trotters were hit again three minutes from time as Ryan Tunnicliffe's corner was flicked in at the near post by Colby Bishop.

With the efforts of last Wednesday's Papa Johns Trophy semi-final victory over Accrington Stanley clearly evident in a fatigued display against Port Vale on Saturday, the Whites took the decision to fly to the south coast on Monday before training and staying in the local area.

When the teams were announced an hour prior to kick-off, it came as little surprise to see Ian Evatt make four changes as Charles, Gethin Jones, Declan John and Kieran Lee all returned. Luke Mbete, Randell Williams, Josh Sheehan and Victor Adeboyejo all dropped to the substitutes' bench.

The visitors started brightly and almost opened up the Portsmouth backline inside the opening five minutes as Shola Shoretire released Charles, although Rafferty tracked back superbly to make a timely interception.

Jones then found himself in a similar situation at the other end, tracing the run of Bishop as he looked to get on the end of an Owen Dale cross.

Ronan Curtis should have opened the scoring on the quarter-hour, chipping over from close range after Lee's clearance failed to find a way out of the area, moments before Tunnicliffe fired over from distance.

Charles and Lee combined to provide Shoretire with a sight of goal five minutes later, only for Sean Raggett to put in a block, and the on-loan Manchester United forward should have done better with his next attempt, rising highest to meet Aaron Morley's free-kick but seeing the ball bounce off his shoulder on the way behind.

Tunnicliffe volleyed wide as he met a Curtis set-piece on 26 minutes, and he sent another effort wide five minutes later after Raggett had headed a cross from Michael Jacobs into dangerous territory.

The hosts wasted the chance to go ahead on 34 minutes as James Trafford made a hash of a clearance, allowing Dale to progress into the Wanderers box where he was denied by some brave goalkeeping.

Connor Ogilvie headed wide with the final chance of the half, which some would say Wanderers were fortunate to survive with a clean sheet.

Then, miraculously, things improved within three minutes of the restart as Morley's corner was headed towards goal by Toal. Although his attempt was cleared off the line, Charles reacted quickest to prod in the rebound and start the celebrations in front of the travelling support.

Kyle Dempsey flashed a strike over from a narrow angle shortly before the hour, after which it started to look like the game would fade out into a non-contest.

A number of substitutions and yellow cards would follow as both teams began to slug it out, but that all changed 17 minutes from time as Portsmouth made the most of some poor defending to level the scores at 1-1.

After Toal had been penalised for a foul midway inside the Bolton half, Rafferty's delivery seemed harmless enough. But the ball was allowed to bounce on the edge of the penalty area, where Towler had gambled and subsequently allowed a free-header that he planted beyond Trafford.

Morrell volleyed over from a Tunnicliffe corner shortly thereafter as the Trotters failed to heed the warning signs, something they were guilty of yet again on 84 minutes as Towler grabbed his second of the evening to put Pompey ahead for the first time.

On this occasion, it was a corner from Morrell which did the damage, as Towler gambled at the near post to poke the ball home.

Sheehan was introduced in place of Lee as Evatt looked to inject some fresh legs into his tiring team but the change failed to have the desired effect as Portsmouth killed the game at 3-1, Bishop this time on target as he flicked in a near-post corner from Tunnicliffe with three minutes left to play.

Bolton remain 4th in the League One table despite defeat, although their hopes of moving closer to the automatic promotion places now look like an uphill struggle - they trail Plymouth Argyle by six points, having played two games more.

Evatt's side are back on the road this coming Saturday when they take on Morecambe at the Mazuma Stadium, knowing victory is required if they are to continue to fend off competition from the teams below them who also find themselves in pursuit of a play-off place come the end of the season.

Portsmouth: Macey, Rafferty, Raggett, Towler, Ogilvie, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Dale, Jacobs (Scarlett 66), Curtis (Pigott 82), Bishop
Subs Not Used: Oluwayemi, Thompson, Lowery, Bernard, Lane
Booked: Curtis, Rafferty
Goals: Towler 73,84, Bishop 87

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Toal, Santos, Jones, John, Morley, Dempsey, Bradley, Lee (Sheehan 86), Shoretire (Kachunga 72), Charles (Nlundulu 79)
Subs Not Used: Isgrove, R Williams, Mbete, Adeboyejo
Booked: Santos, Bradley, Lee, Toal
Goals: Charles 48

Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 17,132

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