Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Northampton Town

  • October 21, 2023 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Early goals from Dion Charles and Randell Williams set Bolton on their way to victory over Northampton Town at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Two weeks on from their dismal defeat at the hands of Carlisle United, Wanderers made the perfect start when Charles pounced just eight minutes in to tap into an empty net after Williams' initial effort had come back off the post.

But Williams wouldn't be denied just after the quarter-hour as he cut inside from the left and picked out the far corner of Lee Burge's goal.

Cobblers captain Sam Hoskins pulled one back midway through the second period, glancing a header from Emmanuel Monthe beyond Nathan Baxter, but the Trotters saw out the clock to move up into 4th place in the League One table.

With players returning from injury and suspension, Ian Evatt took the opportunity to make three changes to the side beaten last time out as Ricardo Almeida Santos, Gethin Jones and Aaron Morley came in at the expense of benched duo Jack Iredale and Will Forrester, as well as the injured Kyle Dempsey.

With the action under way, it was Northampton who had the first sight of goal as Hoskins was crowded out as he looked set to strike from the edge of the box following a well-worked corner routine.

The deadlock would then be broken on eight minutes, albeit at the other end, as Williams' drive from distance came back off the post, where Charles was most alert to send the ball back across Burge and into the far corner for 1-0.

Victor Adeboyejo looked to double that advantage from the next attack, picking himself up off the ground to make the most of the referee's advantage before shooting wide from the edge of the box.

Burge was forced into parrying a goalbound cross from Williams behind on 13 minutes, moments before the goalkeeper put his body on the line to deny Santos from close range as he gambled on Charles' header back across goal from a corner.

Bolton's early dominance paid dividends three minutes later, though, as Morley spread the play to Williams, who cut inside his marker before firing into the net for 2-0.

Following that, however, the entire tempo of the game appeared to drop as the hosts suddenly became content with their advantage and unwilling to push forward in search of more goals.

It was perhaps a moment of complacency which almost provided Northampton with a route back into the game on 42 minutes, as Hoskins pounced on a poor pass from Baxter and surged into the area, with Santos providing a timely interception.

Mitchell Pinnock would fire over from distance as Northampton worked the ball to him from the resulting corner, but the visitors were unable to hit the front as they trailed by two at the break.

There was a chance in personnel as Northampton introduced Jordan Willis in place of Kieron Bowie at the start of the second period, while Wanderers emerged unchanged.

The away side were first to threaten after the restart as Pinnock's 30-yard free-kick was comfortable for Baxter, shortly before Charles struck over at the other end as he won the ball deep in opposition territory.

Charles was dangerous again from the next attack, collecting a ball from Josh Dacres-Cogley before shooting low into the gloves of Burge.

George Thomason had a sight of goal just before the hour, collecting possession from Josh Sheehan and driving goalwards before seeing his curling attempt saved by the goalkeeper.

Bolton should have made it 3-0 shortly thereafter as Dacres-Cogley sent a looping cross from Williams back into the path of Morley, only for his close-range goalbound shot to be blocked by Monthe.

Then, just as they did in the first-half, the Whites became too comfortable at the back, allowing Hoskins to make the most of a wayward pass from Santos before sending an effort straight at Baxter.

The warning signs had been there and, less than a minute later, Northampton were back in the game as Monthe's cross from the left was directed into the net by the head of Hoskins for 2-1.

Jones headed over from a corner as the Trotters looked to find a two-goal cushion yet again, before a number of substitutions from both managers allowed the game to tick into the final 10 minutes without further incident.

Baxter made an outstanding reaction save to keep his side ahead with eight minutes remaining, denying Ali Koiki after he had chased down a ball he had no right to win in the first place.

Hoskins would then come close to a repeat of his earlier goal, only to head wide from a Pinnock cross on this occasion, and although Town pushed forward inside four added minutes for stoppages, they were unable to test Baxter again as they were left to rue their sluggish start.

For Bolton, victory moves them up into 4th place in the League One standings ahead of Tuesday's trip to Wycombe Wanderers.

Bolton Wanderers: Baxter, Toal, Santos, Jones, Williams, Morley (Maghoma 74), Thomason, Dacres-Cogley, Sheehan, Adeboyejo (Bodvarsson 79), Charles (Nlundulu 79)
Subs Not Used: Coleman, Iredale, Forrester, Jerome
Goals: Charles 8, Williams 16

Northampton Town: Burge, Odimayo (Lintott 74), Sherring, Monthe, Brough (Koiki 61), McWilliams, Leonard, Bowie (Willis 45), Pinnock, Hoskins, Simpson (Hondermarck 74)
Subs Not Used: Thompson, McGowan, Haynes
Booked: Hondermarck
Goals: Hoskins 66

Referee: Martin Coy
Attendance: 19,160

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