Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Derby County

  • September 02, 2023 | By Chris Mann
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A Dion Charles penalty and own-goal from Tyrese Fornah saw Bolton come from behind to beat 10-man Derby County at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Wanderers, who arguably had the better of the opening half-hour, fell behind on 34 minutes when Victor Adeboyejo was adjudged to have pulled a shirt inside his own box, allowing Conor Hourihane to stroke home from the penalty spot.

The home side got themselves back on level terms two minutes before the break when Josh Sheehan was sent tumbling in the opposition area, with Charles sending Joe Wildsmith the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Wildsmith was then sent off three minutes after the restart, handling the ball outside his box as Charles looked set to score, and the Rams' misery was compounded on 65 minutes when a cross from Josh Dacres-Cogley looped up off the leg of Fornah and into the net.

After making seven changes for the midweek Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Middlesbrough, Whites boss Ian Evatt reverted back to a side similar to the one selected against Burton Albion.

There were two changes to the team that took to the field at the Pirelli Stadium as Sheehan and Eoin Toal came in, with Paris Maghoma amongst the substitutes and Jack Iredale unavailable due to injury.

Ricardo Almeida Santos, who had been a major doubt after being forced off at Burton with an ankle injury, captained the side.

Bolton started brightly in the late-summer sun and came close to breaking the deadlock inside four minutes as Charles cut the ball back for George Thomason, whose fierce drive from the edge of the box was tipped aside by a full-stretch Wildsmith.

Santos headed wide from a Randell Williams corner on 13 minutes, while Kyle Dempsey's follow-up was smothered by Wildsmith, shortly before play was halted to allow treatment on an injured Jake Rooney, who would later leave on a stretcher.

Derby responded well to that setback, with Martyn Waghorn bringing Nathan Baxter into action as he stretched to meet a free-kick from Hourihane.

Wanderers continued to have the better of the play as the half progressed, though, with Charles just unable to get the ball under control from a Dempsey pass, moments before Dacres-Cogley clipped the crossbar after he was picked out by Gethin Jones.

Derby saw strong appeals for a penalty turned down by Charles Breakspear when a header from Curtis Nelson appeared to strike a hand, and their frustrations were doubled from the resulting corner when the referee pulled the play back with the ball in the net in order to award a penalty for an apparent shirt pull by Adeboyejo.

After all was said and done, Hourihane kept his composure to slot in from 12 yards as the visitors took a lead against the run of play.

They couldn't take that advantage into the interval, however, as Korey Smith sent Sheehan tumbling on 43 minutes to give Wanderers a penalty at the other end, which Charles despatched to level at 1-1.

Toal came close to giving the home side a lead inside five added minutes, getting his head to a Sheehan corner, but the ball bounced just wide of the post.

The whole trajectory of the game changed just three minutes after the restart as a misplaced pass from Sonny Bradley allowed Adeboyejo a clear run on goal.

Wildsmith came rushing out to make a timely challenge on the Wanderers forward, only to stick out an arm to block Charles' follow-up. After consulting with his assistant as to whether the goalkeeper was outside of his area when the ball made contact, referee Breakspear had no alternative but to issue a red card.

Substitute goalkeeper Josh Vickers would soon enter the action, with Conor Washington the man sacrificed by Rams boss Paul Warne, but Bolton failed to make the most of the opening as Dacres-Cogley fired the resulting free-kick high over the bar.

Bradley put his body on the line to stop Adeboyejo's goalbound effort troubling Vickers just before the hour, shortly before going down at the other end under a challenge from Adeboyejo - with the referee not interested in his claims for a penalty.

If their luck wasn't out on that decision, it definitely was on 65 minutes when Dacres-Cogley's cross from the right looped up off the leg of Fornah, with the ball going over the head of Vickers and settling in the far corner of the net as Wanderers took a 2-1 lead.

Vickers was called into action again on 72 minutes, this time getting down to keep out a curling strike from Toal, and he was needed again six minutes from time as a wayward cross from Williams seemed set for the top corner.

Eight minutes of time was added at the end of the regulation 90 and although Derby enjoyed the majority of the possession during this spell, they never looked likely to equalise as Bolton saw out the clock to pick up all three points.

Evatt's side move back into the automatic promotion places as a result - behind new leaders Exeter City on goal difference - but they will now take a break after next Saturday's game at Shrewsbury Town was postponed due to international call-ups.

They do step out on home soil again this coming Tuesday when they host Salford City in the EFL Trophy, while their next league outing comes at Reading on September 16.

Bolton Wanderers: Baxter, Toal, Santos, Jones, Williams, Thomason (Maghoma 79), Sheehan (Morley 86), Dacres-Cogley (Mendes Gomes 76), Dempsey, Adeboyejo (Jerome 79), Charles (Nlundulu 87)
Subs Not Used: Bodvarsson, Forrester
Booked: Santos, Thomason, Williams
Goals: Charles 43(pen), Dacres-Cogley 65

Derby County: Wildsmith, Rooney (Bradley 14), Nelson, Forsyth, Mendez-Laing, Smith (Cashin 74), Hourihane, Fornah, Elder (Collins 75), Washington (Vickers 50), Waghorn (John-Jules 75)
Subs Not Used: Barkhuizen, Radcliffe
Booked: Smith, Forsyth
Sent Off: Wildsmith
Goals: Hourihane 34(pen)

Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 21,754

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