Report: Bolton 2-0 Oldham Athletic
Wanderers made it three consecutive victories in all competitions as they ran out 2-0 winners over Oldham Athletic at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It took just ten minutes for the deadlock to be broken in the clash, with Zach Clough placing a beautifully crafted free-kick from just outside the box into the top corner of the net.
And the academy graduate doubled his and Bolton’s advantage with 13 minutes of the game remaining, bundling the ball home from close range after the Latics keeper had parried a Josh Vela effort into his path to make sure of all three points.
There was just the one change for Wanderers from the side who started against Swindon last time out, with Sammy Ameobi coming into the fray in place of James Henry.
It was a rip-roaring start to proceedings at BL6, with the pace being well and truly set inside the opening minutes of the encounter.
Much of the play was being contested in the middle third of the pitch meanwhile, although Wanderers were looking to more likely of the two sides to push into meaningful territory.
With just ten minutes gone however, the deadlock was broken as Clough stepped up to a free-kick on the edge of the area, won by Gary Madine, and left the Oldham keeper and his defence stunned as he placed the ball into the top corner of the net.
Buoyed by their opener, the Whites continued their siege on the Latics’ goal with David Wheater seeing a header palmed away by Connor Ripley which Clough was unable to turn home on the rebound in the 17th minute of the match.
Having struggled to contain Bolton, the visitors proceeded to enjoy their first chance of the game in shortly after with Carl Winchester seeing a looping effort narrowly clear Mark Howard’s crossbar.
Although the constant pressure that Wanderers had been enjoying had disappeared somewhat, they were still in a commanding position at the halfway point of the first period.
The Latics were enjoying more half-chances though as the half wore on, but Jay Spearing almost doubled the Trotters’ advantage in the 32nd minute only to see his long range half volley collected by Ripley.
Lee Erwin meanwhile had Bolton hearts in mouths moments later, with his effort from 20 yards being tipped around the post by Howard.
Straight from that corner meanwhile, Ameobi had a glorious opportunity to add a second goal to Bolton’s tally after countering with Vela, but the on-loan forward couldn’t find a way past the Latics keeper.
As the clock ran down to the break, it was yet again the Whites who were looking the more likely to find the net, but as the whistle went it was just the one goal advantage that they held.
With no changes at the break for either side, the second period got underway after a delay caused by the Oldham team’s late emergence from the changing room.
The visitors were looking the more likely inside the opening stages meanwhile, with Wanderers forced onto the back foot early on in the half.
Despite all their huff and puff however, the Latics weren’t troubling the Bolton defence too much with Winchester’s long range effort comfortably clearing the crossbar in the 53rd minute.
On the counter attack meanwhile, Bolton were looking a threat with Athletic having to be on their guard.
It was a combative encounter too, with tackles flying in left, right and centre from both sides.
Having steadied the ship though following an early tirade from the Latics, the Whites were finding their feet once again in the clash.
Against the run of play though, Oldham almost snatched an equaliser only for Howard to deny Paul Green and Freddie Ladapo in quick succession.
With the game heading into its final quarter, the SportsDirect.com Park outfit ramped up their efforts but were undone with 13 minutes left as Clough snatched his second of the game, bundling the ball home after Ripley had saved Vela’s initial effort.
No more than Bolton deserved in the game, they were visibly not ready to settle for just the two goal advantage and proceeded to continue with their pressure on the Latics inside the closing stages.
At the full time whistle however, it didn't matter as Phil Parkinson's men ran out comfortable winners in their latest Sky Bet League One encounter.