Report: Bolton 2-1 Rotherham United
Kaiyne Woolery’s first goal for the club earned Wanderers all three points against Rotherham United at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It took just under two minutes for the deadlock to be broken, with Jay Spearing drilling home from the edge of the box with his first goal of the season.
The visitors were level with two minutes to go in the first half, Chris Burke firing home from close range, but the Whites were to have the final say in the clash as Woolery turned the ball home deep into second half stoppage time to secure a hugely important victory for the Whites.
Emile Heskey came in from the off for Wanderers having figured as a substitute against Wolves in midweek, while Darren Pratley returned to the starting XI as skipper following a brief injury lay-off.
For the Millers meanwhile, former Bolton forward Danny Ward started upfront for the visitors.
Wanderers started brightly with Rotherham under pressure from the outset and were rewarded inside 90 seconds as Spearing collected a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and rifled home past a helpless Lee Camp.
The perfect start for Neil Lennon’s men, their dominance continued with the Millers struggling to get any kind of a foothold in the match inside the opening stages.
Following a lightening start to proceedings, the game fell into a lull as Bolton looked to calm the situation down although Andrew Shinnie enjoyed an opportunity for the visitors which he put harmlessly wide of the goalmouth in the end.
The chance seemed to give Rotherham a boost, with them peppering Ben Amos’ goalmouth shortly after with the Whites forced to withstand a little bit of pressure from their opponents.
Their efforts came to nothing much however, with the home side still looking to add to their advantage on the counter attack.
They almost had another on the half hour mark as Liam Feeney linked up well with Josh Vela down the right flank with the former whipping a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but Mark Davies’ glancing header flew inches wide of the upright with
Camp rooted to the spot.
That second appeared to have arrived in the 34th minute as Wellington Silva poked the ball home after Camp had spilled Heskey’s initial effort, but the offside flag was to deny Wanderers.
Albeit a disappointment for the home side, it appeared to be just what was needed to breathe life into the clash again with Bolton putting the visitors on the ropes in the lead up to the half time whistle.
Amos was called into action up the other end of the pitch however with three minutes of the half remaining, spreading himself wide to deny Joe Newell at close range.
Out of nowhere however, the visitors were level as a loose ball in the area was turned home by Burke, despite the efforts of Moxey and Amos at the near post, with the game all square at the break.
With no changes at the break, it was as you were as the second period got underway at a rain sodden Macron Stadium.
And it was Wanderers who started the strongest, with Heskey proving a nuisance to the Rotherham defence inside the opening minutes of the half.
The Millers were showing their own intent however, with the Bolton defence forced to be on their guard as the visitors utilised the flanks.
The game was finely balanced, and the visitors appeared to have tipped it in their favour in the 58th minute, only to see some last gasp heroics from Amos deny Shinnie from a matter of yards out.
It was anybody’s game, with frustrations evident from both teams as they went in search of a winning goal.
The introduction of Liam Trotter on 65 minutes in place of Heskey saw Feeney move into a more centralised position for the Whites, with the former making an immediate impression as he teed up the latter, only for the offside flag to thwart Wanderers yet again.
As the game entered its final quarter however, it was Bolton who were looking more dangerous on the break with a number of set-pieces testing the Rotherham defence and their goalkeeper.
A goalmouth scramble ensued in the 78th minute of the game in the Rotherham penalty area, but no Bolton shirts were able to turn the ball home from close range.
Wanderers made their second change of the game with ten minutes to go, with Woolery replacing Wellington as the Trotters went all out.
The Millers however were bidding to snatch all three points themselves, with substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris and Richard Wood coming close in quick succession.
A final roll of the dice for Bolton came in the form of Stephen Dobbie with six minutes remaining, the frontman coming into the mix in place of Pratley.
Neither side were ready to settle for a share of the spoils as the clock struck ninety, and with five minutes of additional time indicated, it was all hands to the pump for Wanderers.
And they were rewarded deep into stoppage time, with Woolery slotting home after Camp had spilled Davies’ initial effort, sending the Macron faithful into raptures and earning the Whites all three points.
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