Bolton Wanderers (Away)

Jun 8, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

University of Bolton Stadium Friday 2nd December 2022

Bolton Wanderers 1

Charles (90+3)

Bristol Rovers 1

Coburn (2)

Referee: Robert Lewis Attendance: 16,786

I have to admit to not being there for this game because, after hundreds of negative Covid tests and an arm like a pin cushion I tested positive in the build up to the match.

This report, therefore, owes much to the written reports I’ve read and to the commentary I listened to on Radio Bristol whilst watching THE World Cup match between Brazil and Cameroon at the same time!

Once again the manager rang the changes following the FA Cup defeat to Boreham Wood. Into the starting lineup came skipper Sam Finley, fellow midfielder Jordan Rossiter and Trevor Clarke. Out went Lewis Gordon, who was attending a family funeral, Glenn Whelan and Ryan Loft who was suffering from the illness that had spread through the camp.

The side couldn’t have made a better start, as they were ahead after only 70 seconds. Aaron Collins received the ball straight from kick off and picked out the run of Antony Evans down the right. He, in turn, delivered a low cross into the Bolton area where Josh Coburn was on hand to force the ball over the line from close range.

It was the on loan Middlesbrough striker’s fifth goal in nine league games and two of those nine outings have been from the bench!

The goal frustrated the home supporters, who had turned up anticipating an easy ride against a fellow League One side dumped out of the FA Cup by non league opposition in their previous game.

While Rovers remained composed for most of the opening period, the home side did threaten on one or two occasions.

James Belshaw touched one effort from Elias Kachunga over the bar and Dapo Afolayan sent a shot over the bar, while Jon Dadi Bodvarsson saw his effort saved by Belshaw as the half drew to a close.

The second half was mostly one way traffic towards Belshaw’s goal, though dogged defensive work from Rovers kept their opponents at bay.

With 15 minutes remaining Belshaw again came to his side’s rescue. When Dion Charles capitalised on a defensive slip and raced clear it seemed odds on that he would score, though Belshaw had other ideas and touched the substitutes’ shot round the post.

A Kieron Sadlier attempt was blocked by the massed ranks of Rovers defenders but, with midfielder Amadou Bakayoko driving them on, Bolton applied constant pressure on Rovers’ back line.

That pressure finally paid off three minutes into the five minutes of second half stoppage time when, after a succession of corners, the ball was cleared as far as Charles who curled a shot into the roof of the net for an equaliser his side will claim they deserved.

They are probably right, but when you concede an equaliser so deep into stoppage time, it feels like a defeat rather than a draw and it’s not the first time it’s happened to Barton’s side this season.

Nevertheless, it was another point gained on the road and left his side ensconced in mid table with a similar number of points to many of those around them.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Jones, Toal, Johnston, Bradley, Morley, Thomasson (Williams, 36), Beck (Sadlier, 73), Alofayan, Kachunga (Bakayoko, 63), Bodvarsson (Charles, 55).

Substitutes: Sheehan, Iredale, Lee.

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Thomas, Connolly, Gibson, Sinclair, Evans, Rossiter, Finley, Clarke (Gibbons, 68), Collins (McCormick, 90+2), Coburn.

Substitutes: Jaakkola, Kilgour, Marquis, Saunders, Whelan.


There were no former Rovers players in the Bolton side though former player Ali Gibb is their Senior Academy Physiotherapist

Yellow cards were issued to Lewis Gibson, Sam Finley and Trevor Clarke

Sam Finley was skipper

Two substitutes used

Ten added minutes

(Photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman