Report: Bolton 3-1 Port Vale
Wanderers made it six wins on the spin in all competitions with a 3-1 victory over Port Vale at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Phil Parkinson’s men made their mark early on in the clash, with Zach Clough opening the scoring with a thunderous effort from 20 yards inside seven minutes while Josh Vela doubled Bolton’s advantage just five minutes later when firing home halfway inside the area.
The dream start continued for the Trotters, with Lawrie Wilson’s unstoppable volley from 30 yards in the 16th minute leaving the Vale keeper with absolutely no chance.
The visitors did pull a goal back with 16 minutes remaining through Sam Hart who nodded home from close range, but it proved to be scant consolation at the final whistle as the Whites ran out comfortable winners.
Wanderers were originally unchanged from the victory over Bury earlier in the week, but a late injury to captain Jay Spearing saw Liam Trotter come into the fray just before kick-off.
The late amendment to the teamsheet saw David Wheater don the armband, while Alex Perry took his place on the Whites’ bench.
Bolton started brightly, with Josh Vela slamming a half volley just wide of the mark inside the opening minute of the clash after good work from Gary Madine.
The visitors were soon enjoying a spell of pressure of their own their own, but the Whites were soon ahead in the clash courtesy of a superb Clough solo effort.
Collecting the ball around 25 yards out from goal, the little man took a touch before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Jak Alnwick’s net.
A lightening start to proceedings for the Trotters, their advantage was doubled with just 12 minutes gone as Ameobi shrugged off the challenge of a Vale defender, powered to the six yard box along the by-line and tried his luck from a tight angle.
Seeing his effort parried by the Valiants’ keeper, the ball fell kindly for Vela who thundered it into the back of the net to the delight of the home faithful.
And it was three just minutes later, with Wilson putting his name in the running for the club’s Goal of the Season accolade with a sumptuous volley from all of 35 yards - Macron Stadium simply couldn’t believe what was happening!
Vale were visibly stunned beyond belief, while Wanderers weren’t resting on their laurels despite their impressive lead with Ameobi in the thick of it for the home side at the first period reached its halfway point.
Frustration was evident for the visitors too, with a number of clumsy and rash challenges leading to a handful of cards for Bruno Ribeiro’s side.
It was very nearly a fourth with eight minutes of the half remaining, only for Alnwick to somehow scramble Gary Madine’s audacious flicked effort away for a corner kick.
Wanderers looked likely to add to their tally with each passing attack, with Wheater’s deft header from six yards ensuring that Alnwick was on his guard.
Vale simply couldn’t contain Bolton, with Wilson’s pass across goal somehow eluding three bodies inside the six yard box as the clock ran down to half time.
It seemed hard to comprehend as to how the Whites’ lead wasn’t greater, but it remained just the three at the break.
With no changes for the Whites at the break, they got proceedings back underway and carried on where they left off with Vale soon on the back foot.
Although not quite matching up to the frenetic manner of the first period, Wanderers were running play for the most part with the Valiants having to defend in their numbers in a bid to keep the scoreline down.
The visitors were seeing more Bolton territory in the second period than they had previously, but Bolton were calmly dealing with each and every instance of this.
Mark Howard was called upon to make his first save of the game meanwhile just after the hour mark, with the keeper tipping Sam Kelly’s header over the crossbar with a goal seemingly imminent.
Up the other end meanwhile, Madine saw his shot from a matter of yards out somehow trickle wide of the mark after superb work from Andrew Taylor on the left flank.
Although the pace of the clash had visibly dropped, Wanderers still looked dangerous on the break with Clough unable to turn the ball home following a mazy run in the box with a forest of Vale defender in his way.
With just 16 minutes of the clash remaining though, the visitors managed to pull a goal back through Hart who scrambled the ball home at the back post from Ryan Taylor’s cross.
Visibly a little buoyed at finding the net, Vale were almost undone again just minutes later as some last ditch defending stopped Madine’s effort from crossing the line with Alnwick beaten.
The clock was ticking down to full time as speed, while Wanderers were needing to be on their toes as the Valiants looked to force a grand-stand finish to proceedings at Macron Stadium as Anthony de Freitas’ header had Howard panicking.
With three minutes of additional time added on, substitute James Henry tried his luck from distance only to be denied by the Vale keeper, but it did not matter at the final whistle as the points were firmly Wanderers'.
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