Stockport County 0-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • November 14, 2023 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton claimed top-spot in their Bristol Street Motors Trophy group, beating Stockport County 2-0 at Edgeley Park.

Wanderers, who entered the game having won their previous six in all competitions, won the tie courtesy of a first-half double from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, ending County's extraordinary run which had seen them go into the evening on the back of 13 successive victories.

Both sides had already assured themselves a place in the knockout stages of the Trophy, but the Trotters ensured they would be drawn at home in the next stage by taking a maximum nine points from their three group outings.

Suspended from pitchside as a result of his third yellow card of the season this past Saturday, Ian Evatt made six changes as he watched on from the stands - Ricardo Almeida Santos, Gethin Jones, Randell Williams, George Thomason and Paris Maghoma retaining their places.

Joel Coleman stepped in for Nathan Baxter in goal, while Luke Matheson was rewarded for his performances earlier in the competition with a first start in Wanderers colours.

Jack Iredale and Aaron Morley stepped up from the substitutes' bench to start, while Dan Nlundulu partnered Bodvarsson in attack.

There were places for Noah Halford, Conor Lewis and Sonny Sharples on the bench, as Evatt handed opportunities to the youth trio after impressing in recent months.

With little to call in the early exchanges, it took until the 17th minute for the first newsworthy action to arrive as Williams was withdrawn as a precautionary measure and replaced by Josh Dacres-Cogley - who had perhaps hoped to have taken on more of a watching brief.

The first chance of the evening fell the way of Wanderers soon thereafter as Bodvarsson raced in in goal and rolled a shot wide, only to have been flagged for an offside in the build-up.

Another sight of goal would follow moments later as Jones threaded a ball through for Nlundulu, but Neill Byrne made an outstanding block to deny the forward.

Iredale was next to be denied, seeing an effort blocked on 35 minutes, but the deadlock was broken two minutes later as Maghoma played Bodvarsson into space, with the Icelander making no mistake in firing across the goalkeeper and into the far corner.

Bodvarsson notched his second of the game in the dying stages of the half, this time latching on to a ball from Thomason before lifting over an oncoming Jordan Smith to make it 2-0.

The two managers would have had contrasting emotions at the interval, after which the visitors emerged unchanged, while Stockport made a triple substitution as they effectively admitted defeat to their League One opposition.

Despite that, they would make a bright start to the second period and were left frustrated by some outstanding goalkeeping as Coleman threw himself at the feet of Jayden Richardson, who had worked his way beyond two defenders after cutting inside from the left.

Morley thought he had added a third just after the hour with a dipping drive from 25 yards, but a full-stretch Smith parried the ball onto the post and celebrated as the ball rolled across his line and away to safety.

Smith was required again on 65 minutes, this time keeping out a low attempt from Thomason, moments before he rose to his feet to thwart substitute Cameron Jerome from just inside the area.

Nick Powell had the ball in the Bolton net midway through the half, only for his goal to be ruled out for an offside, but the visitors were soon back on the attack as Morley was denied by Smith.

Smith saved from Morley yet again on 72 minutes after he had been picked out on the overlap by Nlundulu, who, himself, tested the palms of the goalkeeper six minutes later after finding himself on the end of a through ball from Maghoma.

Powell, who had seen that earlier strike ruled out, almost found himself on the scoresheet eight minutes from time, but his shot back across goal rolled past Coleman's far post with what would ultimately prove to be the final chance of the game.

Victory for Bolton, a seventh in succession for the first time since October 2016, means they end the group stage as winners of Northern Group E, guaranteeing themselves a home draw in the next round of the competition.

They take a break from action now, however, with their next league fixture coming at home to Exeter City on November 25.

Stockport County: Smith, Knoyle, Byrne, Pond, Richardson, Camps, Johnson (Wright 45), Mee (Bailey 45), Touray (Pye 45), Madden, Powell
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Horsfall, Croasdale, Wootton
Booked: Pond

Bolton Wanderers: Coleman, Iredale, Santos, Jones, Williams (Dacres-Cogley 17), Thomason, Morley, Matheson, Maghoma (Sharples 86), Nlundulu (Adeboyejo 86), Bodvarsson (Jerome 56)
Subs Not Used: Baxter, Halford, Lewis
Booked: Thomason
Goals: Bodvarsson 37,45+1

Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 3,427

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