Report: Bolton 2-0 Millwall
Wanderers bounced back to winning ways as they eased to a comfortable victory over Millwall at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Following a slow start to proceedings, the Whites opened the scoring in style as Josh Vela’s volley from the edge of the area nestled into the back of the Lions’ net.
Bolton’s advantage was then doubled 12 minutes into the second half, with Tom Thorpe notching his first for the club with a powerful header from a corner kick to make sure of the win.
Jay Spearing returned to the starting XI for Wanderers following his lay-off through injury, while Ben Alnwick made his first league start for the club in the absence of Mark Howard.
Derik Osede was also in from the off for Phil Parkinson’s men.
Bolton began the game in the ascendancy, although their opportunities in front of goal were limited to long range efforts which failed to trouble Jordan Archer inside the opening stages of the encounter.
The visitors then proceeded to enjoy a spell of pressure however, with a succession of corners ensuring that the Whites were on their guard early on.
As the game reached its quarter-hour mark however, neither goalkeeper had really been tested and the clash appeared to have fallen into a bit of a lull.
Out of nowhere however, Wanderers took the lead courtesy of a superb volley from the edge of the box by Vela.
Spearing had seen his initial shot blocked, but the ball fell kindly for the academy graduate on the edge of the box who struck a beautiful effort past a helpless Archer.
Just the boost the Trotters needed, they pushed forward in a bid to extend their lead thereafter with Liam Trotter being denied a goal against his former employers by an offside flag after turning home Clough’s initial parried shot.
Mark Beevers almost had his second of the season with ten minutes of the half remaining as he found himself in unfamiliar territory in Millwall’s 18-yard box, but the centre-half’s eventual drive was kept out at the near post by the Lions’ keeper.
Neil Harris’ side were failing to really trouble Alnwick in the Bolton goal, with their rare forays into Bolton territory resulting in nothing much of note.
On the stroke of half time however, some last ditch defending from Derik ensured that a dangerous ball from Fred Onyedinma was cleared away from danger.
Up the other end meanwhile, Spearing saw a deft header tipped onto the crossbar by Archer with the midfielder agonisingly close to doubling Bolton’s advantage.
As the half time whistle was blown however, it was just the one-goal lead for the Whites.
Wanderers made just the one change at the break, with Trotter being replaced by Tom Thorpe.
And they came close to doubling their tally just three minutes into the second period, with a Spearing free-kick causing all kinds of problems for Archer.
The run of play in the game continued to fall Wanderers’ way, with Clough proving himself a handful for the Millwall backline as the encounter made its way to the hour mark.
And they were eventually rewarded with 57 minutes on the clock as Thorpe opened his account for the club with a powerful header from a corner kick.
Completely deserved given the Whites’ dominance, it was almost three shortly after as Vela pickpocketed the ball on the left flank, cut inside at the byline and teed up Clough, but his fellow academy graduate saw the ball snuffed out by a Millwall defender just as he was about to unleash.
They certainly weren’t for resting on their laurels either, with the home side looking dangerous with each passing attack while Ameobi saw a thunderous drive from 30 yards parried by Archer with 23 minutes left.
Ameobi in particular was a tyrant for the Millwall backline, with them unable to get to grips with the on-loan forward as he slalomed into the Lions’ box.
Alnwick was virtually a spectator as the match entered its final quarter, with the shot-stopper only being called upon to pluck the ball out of the air on a handful of occasions.
With the game inside its final ten minutes, it was a case of now-or-never for the Lions if they were to have any hope of snatching something from the game, but Wanderers were standing firm.
Bolton themselves even enjoyed half-opportunities to extend their lead, but come the final whistle it simply didn't matter as the points were comfortably theirs.