Port Vale 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 30, 2023 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/34858

Dion Charles scored the only goal as Bolton maintained their remarkable record at Port Vale, winning for the 10th time in 20 such trips.

Since first visiting the Athletic Ground in 1900, later followed by the Old Recreation Ground and latterly Vale Park, Wanderers have lost just once in competitive across all three stadiums - that coming back in the 1988/89 campaign.

On this occasion, it was Charles who proved the difference as he struck two minutes before half-time to give the Trotters a first league win in three outings as they moved up into fourth position in the League One table.

Four days on from an 8-1 thrashing of Manchester United U21 in the EFL Trophy, Ian Evatt made three changes - two of which were enforced - as Gethin Jones and George Thomason missed out through suspension, while Jon Dadi Bodvarsson dropped to the substitutes' bench.

Josh Dacres-Cogley returned after sitting out the midweek win to be present at the birth of his first child, while Kyle Dempsey and Charles were back after being rested last time out due to ongoing injury issues.

With early sights of goal not really forthcoming, it was referee Declan Bourne who provided the first talking point as he issued a third-minute yellow card to Alex Iacovitti as he hauled down Dacres-Cogley as he advanced into the final third.

The first shooting opportunity arrived shortly before the 20-minute mark as Charles latched on to a pass from Dacres-Cogley but was unable to hit the target.

The hosts were then forced into a change as Iacovitti, who had earlier been booked, was replaced by Lewis Cass after taking a blow on the edge of the Wanderers area from which he was unable to recover.

Port Vale's first chance of the game fell on 35 minutes as Nathan Smith headed a cross from Kofi Balmer towards goal, but Baxter was equal to the effort and made a routine claim.

Dan Nlundulu was next to try his luck, although his deflected strike on the turn was comfortable for Connor Ripley, who was at his best moments later to parry away a long-range effort from Josh Sheehan.

He was beaten two minutes before the break, though, as Charles received possession just inside the Vale half and set about a run towards goal. After advancing into the area and taking advantage of a defensive slip, the forward rolled a shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 with his seventh of the season.

The home side almost found themselves back on level terms immediately, only for Baxter to stuck out a leg to send a goalbound effort from Ben Garrity past the post, ensuring the visitors took their advantage into the interval.

There were no changes as the Bolton players emerged for the second period, although Vale did make a double substutution as James Wilson and Alfie Devine were withdrawn - Josh Thomas and Gavin Massey on in their place.

The hosts began the stronger of the two after the restart and forced Baxter into a save within three minutes as Massey stood up a cross for James Plant, whose header was straight into the gloves of the Wanderers goalkeeper.

There was then little to call until the midway point of the half, when Jack Iredale and Aaron Morley entered the referee's book for challenges on Plant and Conor Grant, respectively, either side of a switch which saw Bodvarsson brought on for Nlundulu.

Balmer headed wide for Port Vale on 74 minutes, shortly after Randell Williams saw a goalbound strike tipped away by Ripley.

In the end, for all their attacking intent inside the opening 45 minutes, resulting in just shy of 70% of the possession, Wanderers ran down the clock to perfection after the break.

Although they rarely troubled in the final third, neither did they have to work too hard at the other end, clearing a succession of late set-plays to hold out for all three points.

Victory moves the Whites up into fourth spot in League One - with a game in-hand on most of their nearest rivals - ahead of Tuesday's home meeting with high-flying Stevenage.

Port Vale: Ripley, Balmer (Debrah 75), Smith (Sang 74), Iacovitti (Cass 25), Plant, Arblaster, Ojo, Grant, Garrity, Devine (Massey 45), Wilson (Thomas 45)
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Lowe
Booked: Iacovitti, Balmer

Bolton Wanderers: Baxter, Iredale, Toal, Forrester, Williams (Ashworth 90+2), Morley, Sheehan, Dacres-Cogley, Dempsey, Nlundulu (Bodvarsson 65), Charles (Jerome 80)
Subs Not Used: Coleman, Khumbeni, Matheson, Andreucci
Booked: Iredale, Morley, Sheehan
Goals: Charles 43

Referee: Declan Bourne
Attendance: 10,457

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