Report: Bolton 4-0 Gillingham
Wanderers moved back into Sky Bet League One's top two with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Gillingham in front of the television cameras on Monday night.
The deadlock was broken inside 14 minutes with Gary Madine nodding home a Josh Vela cross, while the academy graduate turned goalscorer just short of the half hour mark when slotting home a cheeky Zach Clough back-heel.
Madine then doubled his tally in the 65th minute of the clash when heading a Jay Spearing free-kick past the Gills’ keeper, while Sammy Ameobi made it four with ten minutes to go with an absolute piledriver from distance to cap off a memorable evening for Phil Parkinson's men.
Wanderers were unchanged in their starting XI from the side who began the Emirates FA Cup game against Sheffield United nine days previous.
The home side started brightly in the clash, with Gary Madine flashing an effort from distance just wide of the post inside three minutes.
It was very much one-way traffic, but on a rare foray downfield the Gills almost snatched the lead against the run of play as Max Ehmer saw a thunderous shot blocked with Ben Alnwick a beaten man.
Up the other end of the pitch meanwhile, Josh Vela’s half volley flew agonisingly wide of the upright with Macron Stadium on their feet.
And the deadlock was broken in the 14th minute as a superb cross-field ball from Vela found Madine in the area, with the big frontman given the simple task of nodding home past a helpless Stuart Nelson.
Buoyed by their opener, Bolton proceeded to power forward in their numbers in a bid to extend their lead with the Gills at sixes and sevens at the back.
Justin Edinburgh’s side just couldn’t cope with the Whites, with Nelson having to be at his best to deny Zach Clough at range soon after.
Again though, the visitors were looking a threat on the counter with Frank Nouble firing an effort down the throat of Alnwick in the 28th minute.
They didn’t have to wait too long to add to their tally however, with a beautifully crafted move between Clough and Vela seeing the latter calmly slot beneath Nelson from a clever back-heel with the goalkeeper simply unable to do anything to prevent it.
It was a joy to watch as Wanderers pushed to add more goals, with those inside Macron Stadium on the edge of their seats at the clock ran down to half time.
A third appeared to have arrived just before the break, with Sammy Ameobi’s effort being parried out by Nelson, but Clough’s rebounded effort was adjudged to be offside.
Come the end of the opening 45 however, it was just the two goals for the Whites.
With no changes at the break, proceedings got back underway and the Trotters were right back on it, looking to extend their lead.
The visitors almost grabbed a lifeline against the run of play however, with Jake Hessenthaler’s header seemingly bound for the back of the net, only for Wanderers’ blushes to be spared.
Gillingham were certainly enjoying more time in Bolton territory inside the opening stages of the second period, but Bolton were soaking up any pressure put their way while Alnwick was simply being called upon for simple collections.
On the hour mark meanwhile, a third goal looked to have arrived as Spearing’s drive stung the palms of Nelson, with Madine unable to tuck the ball away from a tight angle on the rebound.
That goal however arrived with 25 minutes of the game remaining as Madine made no mistake at the second time of asking, nodding home a Spearing free-kick with ease to the delight of the Macron faithful.
Wanderers visibly weren’t finished for the night, with substitute Chris Taylor seeing an angled drive blocked by the Gills keeper shortly after.
Gillingham simply couldn’t cope with the Whites, with Phil Parkinson’s side running riot as the clock ticked down to full time.
And it was four with ten minutes to go, Ameobi the man this time with an absolutely sensational strike from distance to send the Bolton fans into raptures.
Completely and utterly deserved by the Trotters, the final stages of the clash brought a penalty shout for substitute Keshi Anderson and a golden opportunity for James Henry inside the six yard box, but ultimately it mattered not at the final whistle as Wanderers ran out emphatic winners.