Report: Bolton 4-1 Walsall
Wanderers came from behind to pick up all three points against Walsall with an emphatic victory at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The deadlock was broken against the run of play with just four minutes gone, with Erhun Oztumer smashing home from all of 40 yards, but Bolton were back level just 11 minutes later through Gary Madine’s header.
With 25 minutes on the clock, the Trotters were in front as James O’Connor turned a Spearing cross past his own goalkeeper, and just five minutes after Liam Trotter extended the hosts’ lead with a long range effort.
And with a matter of minutes remaining, Chris Long had a goal on his home debut and one to remember as he thundered home from a seemingly impossible angle to ensure a handsome scoreline come the final whistle.
There was a home debut for Filipe Morais, while Adam Le Fondre also came in from the off after starting on the bench against MK Dons last weekend.
With barely ten seconds on the clock, Le Fondre almost opened his account for the Whites once again when volleying goalwards, only to see Neil Etheridge scramble across his line to deny him.
The chance definitely spurred Bolton on, with them pushing forward in a bid to open the scoring, but out of nowhere the visitors were in front with four minutes gone through an absolute wonder goal from Oztumer from all of 40 yards.
Despite the early set-back however, Wanderers were soon back on the attack in a bid to draw the scores level as quickly as possible.
And they did so with 15 minutes on the clock, with Madine nodding home a Jay Spearing free-kick from a yard or so out.
Completely deserved on the run of play, Phil Parkinson’s men visibly were keen to get their noses in front and peppered the Walsall goal with crosses and shots.
The Saddlers’ defence just couldn’t cope with the Whites, and with 25 minutes gone Bolton were ahead as O’Connor put a Spearing cross past his own goalkeeper.
And it was three just short of the half hour mark, this time Trotter getting in on the action with his effort from 30 yards flying into the net.
Bolton were oozing confidence, while David Wheater tried his luck with a 30 yard free-kick which flew just over the crossbar a few minutes later as wave after wave of attacks ensued from the home side.
Walsall were a team visibly stunned, and as the half drew to its conclusion, only one team looked capable of finding the net and it certainly wasn’t the visitors.
Come the half time whistle however, it was just the three goals for Wanderers.
Following a delay to the start of the second half, proceedings got underway and it was Walsall who started the stronger of the two sides.
There was chances for both sides in the opening stages of the second period meanwhile, with the crowd sensing that the scoring wasn’t quite finished in this clash.
The Saddlers almost had a goal back too just short of the hour mark, with an effort being cleared off the line by Mark Beevers with Ben Alnwick a beaten man.
The visitors were certainly seeing more of the goal this half, with goalscorer Oztumer thundering an effort right down the throat of Alnwick with a quarter of the game remaining.
It was almost four for Wanderers shortly after, with Madine finding himself in on goal only to be denied by Neil Etheridge.
With the clock running down, Bolton were still looking to extend their lead with substitute Chris Long proving himself a nuisance for the Walsall defence.
Long meanwhile had the ball in the back of the net too with seven minutes to go, but the offside flag denied him a goal on his home debut.
He didn’t have to wait much longer though, with him literally breaking the netting with a thunderous drive from a tight angle with three minutes to go to make it four to Wanderers and ultimately wrap up the victory for the Whites.