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Match Reports

Bolton Wanderers v Town

26 December 2016

Bolton Wanderers 2 Town 1

Bolton Wanderers: Ben Alnwick, Mark Beevers, Josh Vela, Jay Spearing (c) (Derik Osede 80), Zach Clough (Chris Taylor 88), Gary Madine, Andrew Taylor, Sammy Ameobi, Lawrie Wilson, David Wheater, Tom Thorpe

Subs: Jake Turner, Dean Moxey, Keshi Anderson, Max Clayton, James Henry

Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Mat Sadler, Olly Lancashire, Ian Black, Abu Ogogo (c), Louis Dodds, Jim O'Brien ( Shaun Whalley 73) Junior Brown, Jack Grimmer, Dom Smith, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake ( George Waring 46)

Subs: Callum Burton, Joe Riley, Ethan Jones, Ryan Barnett, Ryan Sears

Ref: David Webb
Assistants: Joe Simpson and Matthew Bristow
Fourth Official: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 16,238 (688 from Town)

Paul Hurst is forced into one change from the side that ran out 2-0 winners against Bristol Rovers last week with Callum Burton coming in to replace Mark Halstead who picked up a slight ankle injury in training.

Town started the game brightly and were getting at the home side in the opening exchanges, O'Brien played in Ebanks-Blake who held it before setting the ball to Brown but his shot was blocked and Alnwick was there to collect.

At the other end a Bolton corner was swing into the Town box and Thorpe connected, his header took a deflection off a Town player to send it goal wards but Leutwiler was alert to beat the ball away and the Town defence cleared their lines.

Bolton looked strong and dangerous in attack but Town were doing the hard work to cut out the space and time the home side had on the ball. Ameobi showed his strength to hold Sadler off and try to get in behind the Town defence but Sadler was strong and slid in for an important block to concede a corner.

It was the home side who took the lead on 23 minutes after the corner was put in towards the back post, Leutwiler got a hand to it but Town couldn't clear their lines and there was Wheater to stab the ball home and make it 1-0 to Bolton.

It was 2-0 to Bolton moments later after Black had slid in late on Spearing to concede a free-kick, the ball was put into the back post and a Bolton head was to put it back into the Town box, Town couldn't clear their lines and there was Wheater to smash the ball home for his second goal in quick succession.

Town were continuing to press and push and look to get back into the game but the two goal lead meant that Bolton were in the driving seat. The visitors had little to trouble Alnwick in the Bolton game and as the game entered added time the ball dropped to O'Brien on the edge of the box, he tried his look with a long range effort but it was well over the target.

Half-time: 2-0

Town started the second half with Paul Hurst making his first change with George Waring on to replace Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

Town attempted to put the pressure on after the restart and forced a couple of corners in quick succession. The second saw the ball drop in the Bolton penalty area and there was a free for all of players trying to get it, Town feet were in there but couldn't turn it home and then the ball dropped on the edge of the box but Black put his effort over the bar.

Waring was making a difference after coming on at the break, he looked to break over the halfway line but was cynically blocked by Wheater and it was a free-kick for Town but no booking for Wheater.

Town were pushing to get goal back and where causing problems around the Bolton goal, the home side were defending well but when the ball dropped for Town they were willing to fire in the long range efforts and one from Dodds flew just wide of the target,

Town should have grabbed a goal back after O'Brien played a lovely ball to put Grimmer in on goal, he powered towards goal and then played the ball across the face of goal, Waring couldn't connected and then Brown coming in at the back post also failed to connect and the chance was gone.

Leutwiler was continuing to be tested and when Zach Clough got in down the left he fired in a low shot towards the near post but Leutwiler was down quickly to pull off another important save.

Clough was starting to cause Town more problems and he found the space to get down the left and then burst into the box Dom Smith slid in with a superb well timed tackle to snuff out the danger, and then O'Brien was there to snuff out the danger and win a Town goal-kick.

With just over quarter of an hour remaining Paul Hurst made his second change bringing on Shun Whalley to replace Jim O'Brien in a like for like swap.

There was a big shout for a penalty from the Town fans after Mat Sadler had got the ball and driven into the Bolton box and went to ground under the challenge from Ameobi but ref Webb was on the spot and saw nothing wrong with the challenge.

Town grabbed a goal back with just under 10 minutes remaining and it started with Sadler firing in a shot that beat Alnwick but hit the underside of the bar, Town continued to press though and Grimmer crossed the ball back in and there was Brown to head the ball home and make it 2-1.

Town were continuing to push and press and when Dodds picked the ball up on the edge of the box he turned into the box looking for the angle, he drove the ball in and the ball hit a Bolton hand, the ref was waving his flag for a penalty but ref Webb was having none of it and waved play on to the amazement of everyone in the Macron.

Town were pushing and pushing and Bolton looked worried, the ball was staying around the Bolton box and when it dropped to Black on the edge of the box he fired in a good looking shot but Alnwick was in the right place, a yard either side and it would have been a second for Town.

In the end Bolton did enough in the closing moments to get the ball back into the Town half and did enough to run the clock down and take the 3 points.

Full-time: 2-1

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