REPORT: Wanderers v Morecambe

Conor Bradley further cemented his popularity at the University of Bolton Stadium as his second goal in two home games was enough to give the Whites maximum points.

Bradley had never scored a senior goal before last week.

But the on-loan Liverpool full-back followed up his thunderbolt in the Whites’ Carabao Cup win over Salford City with a first League goal to give Wanderers the win.

Bradley has been an instant hit since his arrival from Anfield and the teenager’s value was again underlined when he broke the deadlock just before half time.

Conor Bradley goal.jpg

His close-range finish didn’t open the floodgates as the defensive-minded Shrimps doggedly kept Wanderers at bay.

But a second win of the season was more than deserved for Ian Evatt’s men as they extended their unbeaten start with a third successive clean sheet keeping the Whites among the early pace-setters.

With Evatt forced to watch from the directors’ box as he served the one-match ban for his sending off at Port Vale on Saturday, his side showed five changes from that which had started in the heat at Vale Park.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was one of those to come in as he started his first league game of the campaign.

And the Icelander went close to giving Wanderers a 10th-minute with a header he powered wide from an Aaron Morley corner.

Bradley goal.jpg

An early goal would have made all the difference as Wanderers were instead left to try and probe away against a thick wall of red shirts for much of a one-sided first half.

It wasn’t easy as the Shrimps defended in depth and allowed little space for Wanderers to try and pick a way through as they camped in the visitors’ half.

But there were signs things were beginning to open as Declan John fed Kieran Lee to release a shot which was blocked by Jacob Bedeau.

And six minutes before the break the Whites forced the breakthrough.

Elias Kachunga did well down the left-hand side to twist and turn and make space for a low cross which picked out Bodvarsson.

Bradley Kachunga celebration.jpg

He couldn’t get a shot away but managed to keep the ball alive for Bradley to turn and thread the ball home from six yards to claim what would be the winner.

Bradley, who had been as threatening as anyone throughout, started the second half in similar vein with an excellent low cross which just eluded Kachunga in front of goal.

But while there was only one goal in it Morecambe weren’t out of the contest and they went close for the first time when ex-Wanderer Ryan Delaney headed a free-kick from Ash Hunter just wide.

That was very much against the flow, however, as Wanderers kept plugging away in an effort to guarantee the points.

Kyle Dempsey never stopped running and tried a couple of efforts without locating the target either side of Wanderers’ first changes of the night as Amadou Bayakoko and Dapo Afolayan were sent on to try and seal the deal.

Dempsey shot.jpg

And Bakayko had a chance to finally double the lead with eight minutes to go but from Dempsey’s excellent cross the striker nodded downwards and wide.

It didn’t prove costly, however, as Wanderers comfortably repelled a late push from the visitors to keep their momentum going ahead in front of an excellent mid-week crowd of over 17,000 who have still seen their side lose just once at home since January.

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Aimson, Johnston; Morley; Bradley, Dempsey (Sadlier 90); John; Lee (Williams 82); Bodvarsson (Bakayoko 73), Kachunga (Afolayan 73). Substitutes: Dixon, Iredale, Khumbeni.

Booked:

Morecambe: Ripley; Love, Rawson, Bedeau, Delaney, Melbourne (Taylor 59) Weir, Gibson; Hunter; Obika (O’Connor 73), Gnahoua (Fane 83). Substitutes: Smith, Fane, Connolly, Watts, McLoughlin.

Booked: Melbourne

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 17,156 (Morecambe 764)

Read Time: 4 mins