Report: Bolton 1-0 Rochdale
Wanderers picked up a second consecutive victory in Sky Bet League One following a feisty derby encounter with Rochdale on Tuesday evening.
During a goalless first period, Bolton saw efforts cleared off the line from Gary Madine and Liam Trotter.
The deadlock was eventually broken with just seven minutes remaining however as Mark Beevers poked the ball over the line following carnage in the Dale six yard box to earn the Trotters all three points.
Wanderers were unchanged from the starting XI who were in from the off against Walsall last time out, with the only change coming on the bench with Dorian Dervite amongst the substitutes ahead of Max Clayton.
Bolton started strongly in the clash, with the visitors under pressure from the outset as Filipe Morais lofted a number of tantalising crosses into the mix.
Adam Le Fondre and Gary Madine then linked up cleverly with eight minutes gone, only for the assistant referee’s flag to halt the former in his tracks with only the goalkeeper to beat.
It was certainly a quieter start to proceedings than Saturday’s clash though, with both teams easing themselves into the encounter.
Wanderers were definitely looking the more likely of the sides to open the scoring however, with Ben Alnwick simply being called upon to clear his lines on occasion.
Clear cut chances were few and far between as the game reached its quarter-mark, but Bolton were knocking on the Rochdale door with Le Fondre being harsly adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper when fighting for the ball on the goal line.
A goal looked to have arrived in the 34th minute as firstly Madine saw a header cleared off the line, while David Wheater’s follow-up effort was met by Le Fondre, who was also denied by some last ditch Dale defending.
Bolton’s pressure continued, with Keith Hill’s side back in their numbers as the clock ticked down to half time, while Liam Trotter saw a point-blank shot blocked on the line.
Just before half time meanwhile, Andrew Taylor succumbed to a knock with the full-back having to be replaced by Dean Moxey. Come the break though, the scores remained goalless.
With no changes at half time, proceedings got back underway at a bitterly cold Macron Stadium.
And it was again a tentative start to the half, although Alnwick had to be on his guard to pluck a lofted Rochdale effort out of the air with the ball hovering over the goalmouth.
Ollie Rathbone then saw the best opportunity of the game go begging as his flash-shot whipped inches wide of the post.
A goalmouth scramble then ensued shortly after, with no Rochdale shirt able to turn the ball home inside the six yard box.
The chances seemed to breathe a little confidence into the visitors, with Bolton forced back to defend a succession of attacks from the Spotland outfit.
After weathering the storm however, Wanderers were soon back on the attack with a Moxey daisy-cutter eluding the goalmouth by a matter of inches.
Just after the hour mark meanwhile, Chris Long was introduced in a bid to inject some fire power into the Whites.
The game was finely balanced on a knife edge, with Rochdale themselves looking dangerous on their forays into Bolton territory, although Alnwick was calmly collecting anything that came his way.
Frustration was evident for Wanderers when they moved forward too, with Long causing problems for the Dale defence but ultimately coming up just short in his attempts.
With the game inside its final ten minutes, it was all Bolton and they were eventually rewarded as Beevers poked the ball home with seven minutes remaining following a melee in the Rochdale six yard box.
The ball itself didn’t even hit the back of the net, but the assistant deemed that it had crossed the ball to the delight of the home faithful.
In the dying embers meanwhile, Wanderers almost had a second after a Dale body nearly turned home a Madine cross, only to see the ball trickle inches wide of the post.
But come the final whistle it mattered not, with Bolton running out winners for the second game in succession.