Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Salford City

  • September 05, 2023 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton opened their defence of the EFL Trophy with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Salford City at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Five months on from winning the competition with a 4-0 win over Plymouth Argyle at Wembley Stadium, Wanderers didn't take long to leave their mark on this season's competition - taking a lead inside the opening minute as Carlos Mendes Gomes struck from distance.

Ricardo Almeida Santos doubled the Trotters' advantage with only 12 minutes played, while Aaron Morley completed the scoring eight minutes after the break as the Whites moved to the top of their group.

Known to make a number of changes for various cup competitions, Ian Evatt named just four players from the side that started against Derby County on Saturday - Nathan Baxter, Santos, Randell Williams and Josh Dacres-Cogley retaining their places.

Dion Charles, Eoin Toal, Josh Sheehan, Zac Ashworth were all away on international duty, while Kyle Dempsey was rested as he was afforded the chance to rest an ongoing back complaint.

Luke Matheson, Nelson Khumbeni and goalkeeper Luke Hutchinson were named amongst the substitutes, as Evatt opted to involve the B Team trio in a first-team environment.

It took less than a minute for Wanderers to break the deadlock, doing so in style as Mendes Gomes received a pass from Jack Iredale before unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard drive that flashed beyond Joe Wright in an instant.

The lead was doubled on 12 minutes as the hosts took advantage of some poor Salford defending. Mendes Gomes will be credited with the assist, but, in truth, it was his mishit strike that bounced into the ground and up for Santos, who outjumped the goalkeeper to head into the net.

It was almost 3-0 five minutes later as, this time, Paris Maghoma threaded Dan Nlundulu in on goal, but his effort from a narrow angle was gathered by Wright.

Maghoma struck over as the half progressed, and the midfielder came close again just before the half-hour as his drive was kept out by Wright.

He was involved again on 39 minutes, this time turning provider for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson. With the angle against him, the Iceland international looked to square for Nlundulu, only for the goalkeeper to stretch out a glove and make a timely interception.

With Bolton winning, there were no changes at the start of the second period and it didn't take them long to get on top once again - Maghoma pulling a shot inches wide of the post after finding himself on the end of a pass from Williams.

Bolton would go on to seal the win on 53 minutes as Will Forrester combined with Maghoma on the right. Nlundulu couldn't quite get a cross under control and the ball fell to Morley, who worked a yard of space just outside the box before picking out the corner to make it 3-0.

A trio of changes saw George Thomason, Victor Adeboyejo and Cameron Jerome introduced as the clock ticked towards the final 20 minutes, and there was almost an instant impact as Wanderers saw a goal ruled out for offside immediately thereafter.

Adeboyejo stole a yard on his marker to head in from Iredale's cross, but referee Aaron Jackson disallowed the goal after an assistant raised his flag.

Luke Matheson and Gethin Jones were next to enter the action - a debut for the former, who almost registered an assist as his cross was volleyed goalwards by Jerome, only for Adeboyejo to get on the end with a header that went over the top.

Seven minutes of added time passed by without incident and the final whistle meant Bolton moved straight to the top of Group E, ahead of a meeting with Manchester United U21 in three weeks' time.

With Saturday's trip to Shrewsbury Town postponed due to international call-ups, Evatt's side can now enjoy an 11-day break before returning to league action at Reading on September 16.

Bolton Wanderers: Baxter, Iredale, Santos, Forrester, Williams (Matheson 75), Maghoma, Morley, Dacres-Cogley (Jones 75), Mendes Gomes (Thomason 61), Bodvarsson (Adeboyejo 69), Nlundulu (Jerome 69)
Subs Not Used: Hutchinson, Khumbeni
Booked: Matheson
Goals: Mendes Gomes 1, Santos 12, Morley 53

Salford City: Wright, Ingram, Vassell, Berkoe, Bolton (McAleny 62), Lund, Watson (Hendry 61), Collins (Smith 80), Ashley (Humbles 62), Dackers (Olopade 80), McLennan
Subs Not Used: Cairns, Tilt
Booked: Berkoe

Referee: Aaron Jackson
Attendance: 2,983

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