Report: Bolton 2-0 Millwall
Adam Le Fondre’s first half brace ensured that Wanderers picked up all three points with a 2-0 victory over Millwall at Macron Stadium.
The on-loan striker opened the scoring with 11 minutes on the clock after collecting a Tim Ream through-ball, with him doubling his tally on the stroke of half time with a well-taken effort over the head of Millwall keeper David Forde.
The visitors did rally in the second period while the Whites almost had a third as Tom Walker saw his free-kick palmed away, but Le Fondre’s double was enough to secure the win.
A late change to the starting XI saw Tom Walker handed his first senior start for the club in place of the injured Saidy Janko, while Barry Bannan and Eidur Gudjohnsen also returned to the starting line-up.
Wanderers started brightly, with Walker whipping a dangerous ball across the face of goal inside the opening minute, only for David Forde to pluck the ball out of the air with a number of Bolton bodies lurking.
The Bolton pressure continued, but the visitors did threaten with seven minutes gone as following a powerful run by Lee Gregory, a goalmouth scramble ensued with Millwall unable to fire home in a crowded penalty area.
Adam Le Fondre almost opened the scoring shortly after as following good work by Liam Feeney, the frontman attempted to cleverly flick the ball into the net from close range but was denied by the towering figure of Forde.
Following Wanderers’ early pressure, a goal appeared to be imminent and it came with 11 minutes gone as Tim Ream found Le Fondre with a clever ball, with the striker keeping his composure to fire home past a helpless Millwall keeper.
No more than Bolton deserved given their efforts inside the opening stages of the clash, the pressure continued from the restart with Walker causing problems for the Lions.
Millwall themselves were still enjoying forays into Bolton territory with a number of lofty balls towards the Whites’ penalty area, although Ben Amos was calmly collecting everything which came his way.
Halfway through the first period, neither side were really testing their respective goalkeepers with the majority of play taking place in the middle third of the pitch.
As the game wore on, Millwall were slowly finding their feet in the game with the Whites having to keep their cool under a number of attacks from the visitors.
Having weathered the storm, Wanderers pressed forward again with Neil Danns finding Le Fondre who lost his man, with the striker’s control ultimately letting him down as he powered in on goal.
With just two minutes of the half remaining, the Whites extended their lead with Le Fondre the man once again as he collected the ball on the edge of the box and proceeded to fire home over the head of a despairing Forde to ensure Wanderers entered the break with a two goal advantage.
Having been booked in the first period, the half time break saw Danns replaced by Giles Coke at the start of the second half as Wanderers went in search of goals to extend their lead.
The visitors were the sprightlier side to begin with, although Bolton did soon test the Millwall defence with Coke’s shot from just outside the box while Walker also saw an effort drag narrowly wide of the upright in the 53rd minute.
Millwall looked set to halve the deficit on the hour mark as Lee Gregory scampered through towards goal, but a combination of Ream and Amos saw him unable to get his shot in on goal to the relief of Wanderers.
The pressure from the Lions continued, with Ricardo Fuller introduced for the Londoners as they chased the game.
Aiden O’Brien was the next to try his luck for Millwall after collecting the ball while unmarked in the box, but Amos was again to the rescue as he denied him from range with a goal seemingly imminent with 23 minutes remaining.
Despite Neil Harris’ side dominating in possession, Wanderers were still standing firm as the game entered its final 20 minutes with Amos in particularly looking impressive.
With 13 minutes remaining, Bolton looked certain to add a third with Le Fondre powering in on goal following good work by Craig Davies, only for him to be deemed narrowly offside with Macron Stadium already on their collective feet.
Time was ticking down in the clash with Millwall still throwing men forward in a bid to force a grandstand finish at Macron Stadium, while Davies almost put the game to bed as he narrowly failed to connect with Josh Vela’s cross at the far post.
Walker meanwhile attempted to pick out an unmarked Davies with a minute remaining, but his ball was just a little too heavy for the frontman.
The academy graduate almost had a goal himself on the stroke of full time with a cleverly taken free-kick, but he was denied by the fingertips of Forde who palmed the ball away as Wanderers ran out winners on the day.