Report: Bolton 1-2 Charlton Athletic
Wanderers slipped to defeat against ten-man Charlton at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Bolton opened the scoring in style with 13 minutes on the clock as, following Lewis Page’s dismissal for the visitors, Zach Clough curled home a free-kick from 20 yards.
The Addicks were level halfway through the first period however, with Patrick Bauer nodding home a free-kick from close range, before Nathan Byrne put them in front on the stroke of half time - a goal which proved decisive come the end of the game.
Wanderers’ starting XI was unchanged from the side who started against Crystal Palace last time out, while Conor Wilkinson took his place on the substitutes’ bench in place of Chris Taylor.
Wanderers started the game with gusto, with the Addicks under pressure from the outset as Bolton looked for the perfect opening period.
The visitors were struggling to get out of their own half for the most part inside the first five minutes or so, but Tony Watt was proving himself a threat on their rare forays into the final third.
The first real chance of the game meanwhile fell to the visitors, but Jake Forster-Caskey’s long range piledriver was comfortably smothered by Ben Alnwick.
With 11 minutes on the clock though, Wanderers were handed a boost as Lewis Page was dismissed for bringing down Josh Vela with the academy graduate in on goal.
And the Whites certainly capitalised in perfect fashion, with Clough curling home the resulting free-kick past a helpless Declan Rudd in the Charlton goal.
Clough almost doubled his tally just short of the 20 minute mark after collecting a beautiful knock-down in the area from Andrew Taylor, but the academy graduate’s volley somehow eluded the goalmouth with Macron Stadium ready to celebrate once again.
Out of nowhere however, the Addicks were level as Bauer nodded home Forster-Caskey’s free-kick to stun those inside the ground.
Bolton’s lead was nearly restored in fortuitous circumstances with 25 minutes gone as Taylor’s cross was deflected onto the crossbar, but the woodwork ultimately spared the London outfit’s blushes and ensured that the scores remained level.
Wanderers then found themselves under a period of pressure from the ten men of Charlton, with the Addicks looking to notch a second of the game against the odds.
Watt in particular was causing problems for the Bolton backline with the striker winning a succession of free-kicks in dangerous positions.
Jay Spearing meanwhile tried his luck from all of 30 yards with seven minutes of the half remaining, with Rudd parrying his effort and Ezri Konsa clearing Charlton’s lines.
Frustration was evident for Wanderers as the half drew to its conclusion, but it got worse on the stroke of half time at Byrne capitalised on Bolton throwing men forward with him given acres of space to slot home past Alnwick and ensure that Charlton went in at the break ahead.
Wanderers made one change at half time, with Max Clayton coming into the fray in place of Thorpe.
And Bolton were the team who looked to make their mark from the off, with Charlton under pressure early on as the Whites looked to level the scores as soon as possible.
Clayton was certainly making a difference too, with the forward involved in a number of chances for the Trotters inside the opening stages of the second period.
Charlton could barely get out of their own box, let alone their own half, with Bolton constantly throwing men forward in a bid to force a leveller.
Rudd wasn’t being tested too much however, with most of Bolton’s opportunities falling kindly for the Addicks keeper.
Frustration was clear to see for the Whites, and with 20 minutes remaining Conor Wilkinson was thrown into the mix to add further firepower to Wanderers’ cause.
Charlton’s stubbornness was stunting the flow of the game, with Bolton struggling to break down the ten-man wall in front of their goal.
With the game reaching its last ten minutes, both Clough and Wilkinson tried their luck from inside the box, only to be denied by Rudd.
It was at this point too that Bolton made their final change, with Jamie Proctor introduced in place of Beevers as the Whites went all out in attack.
With the full time whistle looming, it was all hands to the pump for Wanderers with a succession of crosses into the box ultimately going to waste.
Four minutes of additional time were indicated and Bolton were left screaming for a penalty kick following a melee in the area, while Madine smashed a volley agonisingly wide.
Ultimately however, their efforts were in vain come the final whistle.