Report: Bolton 2-1 Wolves
Wanderers ran out 2-1 winners over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Following a bright start, the home side opened the scoring through Liam Feeney in the 17th minute, with Zach Clough doubling the Whites’ advantage from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time.
Former Bolton loanee Benik Afobe did halve the deficit halfway through the second period from the spot, but the strike ultimately proved to be a consolation as the Trotters held out for the victory.
Derik Osede came into the backline for his Bolton debut in place of the suspended Dorian Dervite, while Under-21s defender Alex Finney was included amongst the substitutes for Wanderers.
Wanderers began strongly, with Wellington Silva winning a free-kick just outside the box in the opening minute which Zach Clough headed narrowly wide while Liam Feeney fired into the side netting shortly after.
Bolton’s dominance continued, with Gary Madine causing problems for the Wolves backline early on as he narrowly eluded connecting with a Feeney ball into the box.
The visitors were finding themselves virtually imprisoned in their own third of the pitch, although the pace of former Bolton man Benik Afobe was evident on the rare occasions that they ventured upfield.
Having run proceedings from the outset, Wanderers were eventually rewarded with the opening goal of the match in the 17th minute as Feeney collected a lofty ball, turned in the area under pressure and slotted home past Emiliano Martinez.
No more than they deserved given their efforts, the visitors almost had an immediate equaliser against the run of play as Ethan Ebanks-Landell headed goalwards only to be denied by the fingertips of Ben Amos.
Bolton were soon back in the ascendancy however, with a lack of control just outside the area denying Wanderers a second through Clough with 24 minutes gone.
The tempo of the game did temper slightly as the half wore on, with either side’s respective keepers enjoying a period where they weren’t called upon.
With seven minutes of the half to go, Wolves were finding more space in Wanderers’ third but on the whole, were failing to trouble Amos in the Bolton goal.
James Henry, who scored a memorable equaliser against the Whites last time out at Macron Stadium, almost drew Wolves level again with three minutes of the first period remaining, only to see Amos push his drilled effort over the bar.
On the strike of half time however, Wanderers were handed the opportunity to double their advantage from the penalty spot after Wellington was fouled by Ebanks-Landell, with Clough slotting the resulting kick past Martinez with ease to ensure Neil Lennon’s side went in at the break two goals to the good.
With no changes at the break for either side, the second half began with a period of pressure from the visitors as they won a succession of corners.
This time saw an injury to Danns which kept the midfielder on the floor for a couple of minutes while he received treatment, with him eventually being withdrawn and replaced with Josh Vela.
The delay in play brought down the tempo of the clash once more, although Feeney almost doubled his own tally with a diving header after good work from Clough to play him in.
Adam Le Fondre almost marked his return to Macron Stadium with a goal in the 55th minute, but the striker somehow put his shot wide when it seemed easier to score.
Up the other end of the field though, Wanderers were pushing in a bid to extend their lead with Madine coming closer to breaking his goalscoring duck with two glorious opportunities from close range.
In the 67th minute however, Wolves were handed a lifeline after Prince was deemed to have fouled Le Fondre in the box with Afobe firing home from the spot to halve the deficit and bring Kenny Jackett’s men back into the clash.
A goal which came against the run of play, they almost had an equaliser five minutes later as Amos misjudged the flight of a cross into the box, with Afobe feeding David Edwards who somehow slotted wide of an open net.
The introduction of Emile Heskey with 18 minutes to go in place of Clough saw Wanderers push forward once more, with Madine firing over the crossbar after a well-timed run from Davies into the area.
With time running out, Wolves pushed forward in a bid to force a leveller with Edwards coming close with a shot from distance while Heskey was denied whilst in on goal by Martinez after another excellent Davies run.
As the game entered its final five minutes, both sides were going all out to find the back of the net in a bid to either ensure victory on Bolton’s part or earn a share of the spoils for Wolves.
With two minutes left, it was backs to the wall stuff from Bolton with Wolves piling on the pressure as Amos denied Le Fondre from a matter of yards out.
As five minutes of additional time were indicated, Madine was handed the chance to put the result to bed after finding the ball at his feet following a lofty cross downfield, but he put his shot wide under pressure.
Wolves also threw men into the box late on, but their efforts were in vain as Bolton held out for all three points.