Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Blackpool

  • November 11, 2023 | By Chris Mann
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George Thomason powered home the only goal as Bolton beat Blackpool to register a sixth consecutive victory for the first time since March 2021.

After a goalless first-half in which both sides struck the woodwork through Karamoko Dembele and Randell Williams, respectively, the deadlock was finally broken 16 minutes from time.

The visiting defence surrendered possession to Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, whose lay-off was perfectly weighted for Thomason to send a thunderous drive beyond Dan Grimshaw and seal all three points against a club who released him at the age of 16.

Ian Evatt, himself a former Blackpool player, named an unchanged side to the one which started at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday, with Joel Coleman replacing an injured Will Forrester on the substitutes' bench after recovering from an ankle problem.

The Seasiders raced out of the starting blocks and came close inside three minutes as Jordan Rhodes knocked a ball down for Dembele, whose strike from the edge of the box beat Nathan Baxter before crashing off the outside of his right-hand post.

That was as close as either side would come in the opening 20 minutes, with Wanderers looking dangerous on two separate occasions through moves involving Josh Dacres-Cogley, Randell Williams, Victor Adeboyejo and Dion Charles, none of whom could find a way through a resolute Blackpool defence.

Josh Sheehan, who had been fouled three times in the early stages, then became the first player to find himself in the referee's book for preventing a breakaway by Sonny Carey.

The visitors would come close from the resulting free-kick as Dominic Thompson's cross sailed over the head of Ricardo Almeida Santos, but his fellow defenders raced back into position to deny Marvin Ekpiteta a strike on goal.

James Husband fired over from another set-play moments later, before the game's first meaningful talking point arrived as Paris Maghoma was shown a yellow card for simulation deep in Blackpool territory.

Clearly frustrated with the referee's decision, Maghoma was back in the thick of the action again in the next attack but couldn't direct an effort on target as he lashed over Grimshaw's crossbar.

It would then be Bolton's turn to be thwarted by the woodwork as Williams, standing over a free-kick which had been won by Sheehan, curled against the outside of the post as Grimshaw scrambled across his line.

Williams found himself deep in Blackpool territory in the closing stages of the half and forced a save out of the goalkeeper, who rose to make an outstanding block from Charles' follow-up, before defenders raced to clear the safety as Adeboyejo seemed certain to net a tap-in.

There were no changes on either side as the players returned following a scoreless first-half - something Wanderers looked to change immediately following the restart as Charles saw a strike deflect behind for a corner.

Adeboyejo shot wide five minutes later at the end of a move instigated by Maghoma, shortly before Grimshaw saved from Charles after he had been put in by Thomason.

Eoin Toal headed wide as Wanderers worked the resulting corner into the penalty area, while Matt Pennington headed over at the other end as Blackpool also looked dangerous from dead-ball situations.

Charles headed straight at Grimshaw just past the hour, after which a key moment would occur as Bodvarsson came on in place of Adeboyejo.

Both teams would come close as the game moved towards the final 20 minutes, with Rhodes and CJ Hamilton both unable to stretch quite enough to prod in a teasing cross from Husband, seconds before Maghoma shot over at the other end following a pressing run from Sheehan.

An acrobatic attempt from Bodvarsson would roll out for a throw-in on 71 minutes, but the Iceland international got his measure of revenge three minutes later as he stole possession in an advanced position and teed-up and advancing Thomason, whose first-time drive from just outside the box rifled into the back of Grimshaw's net.

Baxter, Dacres-Cogley and Santos all entered the book in the minutes that followed as Bolton were forced to sit deeper, while manager Evatt would follow suit for making his protestations known to the officials after yet another Blackpool infringement went unpunished by way of cards.

Nevertheless, Wanderers would go on to see out four minutes of stoppage time without looking threatened - denying Blackpool a single shot on target to record a sixth consecutive victory which moves them to within a point of Portsmouth at the top of the League One table.

The Trotters must now wait a fortnight for their next league outing - at home to Exeter City - but they are in action this coming Tuesday when they face Stockport County in a Bristol Street Motors Trophy clash at Edgeley Park, knowing progression through to the knockout stages is already assured.

Bolton Wanderers: Baxter, Toal, Santos, Jones, Williams, Thomason, Sheehan, Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Morley 73), Adeboyejo (Bodvarsson 65), Charles (Nlundulu 87)
Subs Not Used: Coleman, Iredale, Mendes Gomes, Jerome
Booked: Sheehan, Maghoma, Baxter, Dacres-Cogley, Santos
Goals: Thomason 74

Blackpool: Grimshaw, Pennington, Ekpiteta, Husband, Hamilton, Morgan (Kouassi 87), Norburn, Carey, Thompson (Joseph 80), Dembele (Dale 74), Rhodes
Subs Not Used: O'Donnell, Connolly, Weir, Oakley- Boothe
Booked: Thompson

Referee: Ben Toner
Attendance: 24,238

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