Report: Peterborough United 1-0 Bolton
Wanderers slipped to a narrow defeat at the hands of Peterborough United at the ABAX Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.
Following a tame start to proceedings, the deadlock was broken just before the half hour mark through Michael Smith’s thunderous volley from 25 yards.
The Whites pressed for an equaliser thereafter, but just couldn't break through United's rearguard as the home side held out for the victory.
Tom Thorpe returned to Wanderers’ starting XI following his recent lay-off with injury, while Mark Howard also came back into the fray between the sticks after missing Tuesday’s trip to Cheltenham with a dead leg.
With sunshine bathing the ABAX Stadium, the game got underway and it was the hosts who were enjoying the better of the opening stages with Wanderers needing to be on their guard in the first few minutes.
A succession of Peterborough corners ensued, but Howard and his backline stood firm and cleared their lines with relative ease.
The Bolton goalkeeper however saw his afternoon end prematurely shortly after following a collision with Shaquile Coulthirst, with Ben Alnwick coming into the fray against his former employers.
The removal of Howard saw the flow of the game ebb a little, with neither side really able to get into their stride following the disruption.
A handful of half chances followed for Bolton, although Luke McGee wasn’t really tested by the Whites’ forward line.
With 27 minutes on the clock however, the deadlock was broken and it was the home side who had it, with Smith unleashing an unstoppable looping volley from 25 yards with Alnwick given no chance.
Although buoyed by their opener, the home side almost let their lead slip soon after as Zach Clough was afforded time and space, only to see his shot from distance fly wide of the mark.
As the clock ran down to half time though, Wanderers were seeing more of the ball but were being restricted to long range efforts which the Boro keeper collected with ease.
United meanwhile were left calling for a spot-kick on the stroke of half-time, with Michael Bostwick believing that Sammy Ameobi had fouled him in the area.
The referee however disagreed and waved play on before bringing the half to its conclusion shortly after.
With no changes at the break, proceedings got back underway and Wanderers put the Posh under pressure from the off with a Wilson cross and consequent Madine header seeing the United backline panic.
The home side weren’t for resting on their laurels though, with Chris Forrester and Coulthirst causing problems for the Bolton backline.
Frustration was evident for Wanderers, but they were still plugging away in a bid to force an equaliser with Ameobi in the thick of it for Phil Parkinson’s side.
Just short of the hour mark meanwhile, Clough ghosted his way past his marker on the edge of the penalty area, only to see his shot narrowly elude the goalmouth.
Vela was next to try his luck, with a thunderous drive from 30 yards stinging the palms of McGee.
The 65th minute of the game then saw Wanderers make their first non-enforced change of the game with Chris Taylor entering the fray.
For the hosts however, Leo Da Silva Lopes proceeded to fire goalwards from all of 30 yards, only to see his effort curve a matter of inches wide of the upright.
Back to back goalmouth scrambles then ensued, with Clough unable to turn the ball home from five yards out while up the other end, some last ditch defending ensured that the deficit remained at one.
With the game entering its final ten minutes, it was all hands to the pump for Bolton as they chased a leveller with wave after wave of attacks from the Whites being soaked up by United.
Peterborough were virtually penned into their own area and as four minutes of additional time were indicated, Bolton threw men forward in their numbers.
Try as they might however, it wasn't to be for Wanderers as the Posh held out for all three points.