Report: Rotherham United 4-0 Bolton
Bolton Wanderers were well beaten against Rotherham United on a blustery Boxing Day at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
With goalscoring chances at a premium in a disjointed opening half, the home side upped the ante in the second period to which Wanderers had no response.
Rotherham ran in four second-half goals without reply, with the only highlight for the travelling 1,800 Bolton fans brief flashes of quality from Zach Clough.
Neil Lennon made three changes to the side that had previously registered a score draw against Fulham at Macron Stadium.
Neil Danns, Dorian Dervite and Emile Heskey all came into the starting team, with Mark Davies and Josh Vela seemingly absent through injury.
Wellington Silva was back on the bench after a prolonged period on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The early throes were somewhat disjointed, with neither side able to gain a significant foothold in what were blustery playing conditions.
The game’s first attempt of note came on 21 minutes. David Wheater launched a quick Bolton counter attack with free kick, which in turn allowed Emile Heskey to square the ball to Clough. With time and space, Clough steadied himself before bringing a fine save out of the onrushing Lee Camp.
The hosts responded with captain Lee Frecklington dragging a first-time shot wide from distance, before Joe Newell saw a free kick from the angle of the area tipped over by Ben Amos.
That flurry of chances buoyed the home side, who came close to opening the scoring on the half hour.
Ex-Bolton man Danny Ward latched onto a flicked header and found himself in the clear, only to be denied by a superb block from Amos.
Within seconds of the restart Bolton were forced to introduce Gary Madine in place of Emile Heskey, who had pulled up with a muscle complaint.
The second half assumed a similar pattern to that of the first, with goalmouth chances at a real premium, as the wind continued hamper the progress of both sides.
But with the game locked at stalemate, out of nowhere the home side broke the deadlock on 56 minutes.
A corner was played directly to an unmarked Grant Ward on the edge of the area, who after a poor first touch fired through a ruck of players and the grasp of a seemingly unsighted Amos.
Bolton responded by introducing Wellington in place of Jay Spearing.
Wellington almost had an immediate impact, combining well down the left with Dean Moxey whose cross was headed over at the back post by Liam Feeney.
Amos superbly kept the home side at bay again, thrusting out a hand to turn away Kirk Broadfoot’s point black header.
But it would only prove a temporary rest bite for Bolton, who were undone at the back on 74 minutes.
Ward was alert to steal in behind the Bolton backline following Newell’s lofted pass, and after rounding Amos he lashed home from an acute angle.
Amos then kept out Joe Mattock’s low drive as the home side sensed a third.
Bolton endeavoured to find a route back into the game, as Madine glanced Feeney’s right-wing cross over at the near post.
But the home side would soon after add to their tally, as Newell escaped in the left channel before finishing coolly under the body of Amos.
Things went from bad to worse when Jonson Clarke-Harris added a fourth late on.