Report: Brentford v Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers succumbed to a narrow defeat at Griffin Park with Neal Maupay’s second-half goal proving to be the only difference.

Phil Parkinson’s men can count themselves unlucky not to have come away with a point particularly after they enjoyed a strong finish to the first half.

But Maupay’s volley proved to be enough for the Bees to claim a precious maximum.

Team News

Phil Parkinson made four changes from that side that suffered a narrow defeat against Leeds United as Bolton Wanderers looked to give themselves an early Festive boost against Brentford at Griffin Park.

Christian Doidge, Gary O’Neil, Sammy Amoebi and Marc Wilson returned to the starting XI at the expense of Josh Magennis, Craig Noone, Joe Williams and Josh Vela.

First Half

An early chance fell Brentford’s way in the third minute when Ollie Watkins got on the end of the a deep, floated free kick, but the wideman miscued his volley and the ball went out for a goal kick.

The hosts clearly had the early ascendancy and Wheater was well placed to head away a dangerous looking cross from Said Benrahma on the right.

Wanderers seldom ventured into the Bees’ box inside the first 15 minutes, but Wilson attempted a strike from distance; however, he miscued his effort and it went well wide of Bentley’s goal.

Although the hostshad the majority of possession inside the first 20 minutes, the Wanderers defence were holding firm and Ben Alnwick hadn’t been required to make a save.

Though a wicked deflection off Mokotjo’s long-range drive had the Wanderers keeper scrambling as the ball went out for a corner.

The effort had certainly raised the atmosphere among the home support who sensed a goal was coming their way.

A great through-ball from Mokojto found the overlapping Odubajo in space, but Alnwick was alert to the danger and came racing off his line to gather the ball.

Wanderers’ best effort came on the half hour mark when Gary O’Neil’s well-hit volley from just outside the box took a huge deflection to go for a corner.

Moments later and a left-footed curler from Ameobi went into the arms of Bentley.

The visitors had certainly upped the ante from an attacking point of view and we now starting to cause the Bees some concern.

Alnwick was pressed into action when Benrahama unleashed a shot from 20 yards, but the Wanderers keeper had the effort cover has he safely gathered it low down.

A good opportunity fell Wanderers’ way when O’Neil was felled about 25 yards from goal by a clumsy challenge off Chris Mepham. However, Ameobi’s free kick cleared Bentley’s cross bar by some distance.

A great move over on the left involving Taylor, O’Neil and Buckley culminated in the latter putting in a ball to the far post only for Olkowski to blaze over the bar with his right foot.

Wanderers finished the half strongly but were yet to test Bentley.

Second Half

A bright start to the second half almost brought Maupay an opening goal but he could only fire over the bar from a tight angle after the ball worked its way in from the right hand side.

Benrahma tried to catch Alnwick off guard with a cheeky free-kick after Wilson had commited a foul, but the Wanderers keeper wasn’t to be fooled and he easily gathered the ball.

The hosts took the lead through Maupay just after the hour mark when he powered a volley into the roof of the net giving Alnwick no chance.

It was a bitter blow for Wanderers who could have taken the lead towards the end of the first half, but now left themselves with plenty to do if they were to pick up a result.

Parkinson made his first change shortly afterwards with Noone coming on for Olkowski to give the visitors more of an attacking zest.

With Josh Magennis replacing Buckley shortly afterwards, Wanderers had their top scorer on the field in the hope of getting them back into the game.

Wanderers made their final change with eight minutes to go when Donaldson came on at the expense of Doidge.

The visitors carved a glorious opportunity right at the death when Magennis played in Noone, but the winger curled the ball agonisingly wide.

Some Christmas magic almost happened deep into injury time when Alnwick came up for a corner.

Although the ball was initially cleared it was soon pumped back in to the box and the Wanderers' keeper directed a header goalwards which went narrowly wide.

But the visitors were ultimately unable to breach the Bees defence and find a way past Bentley.

Full Time

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Olkowski (Noone 68), Taylor, Lowe, Hobbs, Wheater (C), O’Neil, Wilson, Doidge (Donaldson 82), Ameobi, Buckley (Magennis 76)

Subs Not Used: Matthews, Beevers, Vela, Grounds

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