First half goals from Liam Trotter and Rob Holding helped Bolton Wanderers claim a comfortable victory over Charlton Athletic at Macron Stadium on Monday night.
The dominant team from the majority of the match, Trotter side-footed the Whites ahead following great individual play from Kaiyne Woolery, before Rob Holding headed home a Tom Walker free-kick to double Bolton's lead just before the break.
Unable to add to their lead with opposing goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov producing a number of fine saves, Charlton halved the deficit in late on through Josh Staunton, but it proved to be just a consolation as the Trotters held on to clinch the win.
Senior players Medo Kamara, Liam Trotter and Tom Walker all started as Wanderers named a strong time for their second match at Macron Stadium so far this season.
Having been rested last week’s trip to Ipswich Town, there were also recalls for Ross Fitzimsons, Rob Holding, Niall Maher, George Newell, Filip Twardzik and Kaiyne Woolery as the Whites made nine changes to the side that started at Portman Road.
With heavy challenges flying in from both sides during the game’s opening moments, visitors Charlton had the first shot on goal as Ademola Lookman burst free into the Wanderers box, only to drag his strike horribly wide.
It would prove to be a rare Addicks attack during the half, as the Whites took control soon after and were unlucky not to be ahead from their shot on goal just after the ten-minute mark.
Sprinting down the left, Kaiyne Woolery burst past his man into the area before cutting the ball back across goal, only for Tom Walker to fire over from close-range when under-pressure inside the six-yard box.
Woolery’s pace continued to cause Charlton problems throughout the half, with the forward creating another opening for Bolton moments later following another solo-run, only for Alex Perry’s subsequent strike to be deflected off-target.
From the resulting corner, Liam Trotter was unfortunate to see his looping header rebound off the top of the crossbar, with Woolery firing over moments later after the Trotters took advantage of a poor Charlton clearance.
Walker was next to go close for Wanderers after being teed up by Trotter midway through the half, following great play from George Newell on the right to retain possession and beat his man.
However, the midfielder was unable to hit the target as he curled narrowly wide from just outside the box.
Trotter turned creator again soon after as he unleashed Jordan Lussey into the area with a clever backheel, only for the former Liverpool man’s subsequent shot to be stopped in its tracks by a last-ditch Charlton challenge.
The Whites took a deserved lead just after the half-hour mark through Trotter, following superb individual play down the right from Woolery.
Bamboozling his way past numerous Addicks challenges in the box, the forward drilled a low cross across goal only for Newell to be denied by a fine point-blank save at the near post.
However, the rebound fell kindly to Trotter, leaving the midfielder with a simple finish as he calmly steered the ball through numerous bodies into the net.
Bolton doubled their lead with the last attack of the half through Rob Holding – the defender losing his marker and rising highest to calmly head an inswinging Walker free-kick past Mitov, ensuring the Trotters went in at the break with a convincing lead.
Carrying on in the second half where they picked up in the first, Wanderers were unfortunate not to extend their lead further after Newell was denied by Mitov, having looked to catch the goalkeeper out with a powerful strike at his near post from an acute angle.
Charlton should have halved the deficit moments later as Brandon Hanlan broke free moments later with only Ross Fitzsimons to beat, only for the forward to lose composure and curl his effort wide from inside the area.
The Addicks went close again soon after as Ollie Muldoon curled a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide, but they rarely threatened from thereon in, with the Whites looking the more likely side to add to the scoreline.
Cutting in from the right, Lussey drilled a low strike straight at Mitov, while Niall Maher did the same from the left with the same end-result as Bolton continued to press for a third – both strikes sandwiching a Filip Twardzik header which flew narrowly over following a corner.
Jamie Thomas, Jon Ceberio and Alex Samizadeh joined the action as the half wore on as Iain Brunskill rotated his attacking options, with the former making his presence known almost immediately.
Unfortunate to see Woolery fail to convert his low cross with 15 minutes left on the clock, Thomas was then unlucky not to extend the Trotters’ lead himself after seeing his striker regain possession – the forward curling a low first-time strike narrowly wide, having left Mitov stranded.
Still needing to stay awake at the back as the game entered its dying embers despite their lead, Twardzik did superbly well to deny George Lapslie after he rounded Fitzsimons, with the goal gaping, before the keeper recovered to palm away the rebound.
Immediately embarking on a counter-attack, Mitov kept out a fierce Thomas drive at his near post, before Samizadeh side-footed an effort narrowly wide, much to his own displeasure.
Charlton pulled a goal back in stoppage-time as Josh Staunton volleyed across goal into the top corner, but it proved to be only a consolation with little time left on the clock, despite goalkeeper Mitov sprinting forward for a late corner, as Wanderers held on to claim a deserved three points.