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Bolton Wanderers 2 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 15th January 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 15th Jan 2022 17:01

Second-half goals from Kieran Lee and Dapo Afolayan saw new manager Kieran McKenna to his first defeat as Blues boss as Town were defeated 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers. Town were on top for long spells with creating many clear-cut chances before Lee rebounded the Trotters’ opener on 74 and sub Afolayan profited from a George Edmundson error with nine minutes left on the clock.

McKenna named an unchanged side with Christian Walton, perhaps playing his last game for the club with parent club Brighton having taken up the option to recall him with seven days’ notice earlier in the week with discussions regarding a permanent switch ongoing, continuing in goal.

The back three was again, from the right, Janoi Donacien, Luke Woolfenden and Edmundson with the wing-backs Wes Burns and Matt Penney.

In central midfield, skipper Samy Morsy was partnered by Lee Evans with Sone Aluko behind front pair James Norwood and top scorer Macauley Bonne, whose presence at Town for the remainder of the season was confirmed last night.

Forward Bersant Celina returned to the bench following his hamstring injury with Kayden Jackson dropping out of the 18.

For Bolton, keeper James Trafford and midfielder Aaron Morley were handed their debuts having signed in the week, while Gethin Jones was back in the XI and Will Aimson and Afolayan, who scored twice against the Blues in the Trotters’ 5-2 victory at Portman Road earlier in the season, dropped to the bench.

After the teams, with the exception of Aluko, had taken a knee, the Blues started positively, as they did at Gillingham last week, captain Morsy seeing an early cross blocked.

Town were giving the home side, including 19-year-old debutant keeper Trafford, who is on loan from Manchester City, no time on the ball as they tried to play it out from their penalty box.

Bolton began to see more of the ball as the game passed the 10-minute mark but without threatening, although they were twice flagged offside with players behind the Blues’ backline, while Town continued to play the more confident and composed football. On 13 MJ Williams was shown the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Norwood.

As the quarter-hour approached, a neat spell of passing on the left led to Morsy teeing-up Aluko on the edge of the box, the forward hitting a shot which Trafford saved down to his left. The loose ball fell to Bonne but at a tight angle. The ball eventually reached Evans on the edge of the box but the Welshman’s shot was blocked.

Bolton will feel they should have scored with their first serious attack in the 19th minute. Following a free-kick which was taken short on the right, Lee crossed and Dion Charles headed wide at the near post when the striker, a recent signing from Accrington, will feel he should have hit the target.

Wanderers threatened again on 24 when a Morley corner from the right was headed over at the far post by George Johnston.

Town continued to see most of the ball but with Bolton also now having spells in possession. Just before the half hour, Burns cut out a loose Trotters pass on the Blues’ right and brought the ball forward and cut inside to Evans, who hit a shot from the edge of the area which Trafford bundled behind at his left post.

Bolton went very close to breaking the deadlock in the 32nd minute when Charles was played in in space on the left by Declan John and hit a shot across Walton which the keeper superbly tipped past his left post.

A minute later, Edmundson headed back towards his keeper from the edge of the box to the Town left failing to spot Lee, who was momentarily in on goal until Woolfenden brilliantly got back to dispossess him. Soon after, Edmundson was forced to make an interception with Bolton again in a threatening position.

Town had got a little sloppy with Wanderers becoming more confident on the ball and giving the Blues’ backline one or two problems.

On 40 Walton inadvertently slid out of his area to the right with the ball in his hands as he claimed a pass down the right. While the Bolton fans called for an unlikely red card, the Town keeper was shown a yellow.

The resultant free-kick appeared to take a nick on the way through before being headed behind.

There was another scare for the Blues in the 43rd minute when John crossed from the left and Amadou Bakayoko was just unable to reach the ball at the far post.

Jones blazed over following a late corner before referee Bobby Madley brought the half to an end.

Town had started very positively and in control playing the slick, fast-paced football which saw them to last week’s 4-0 win at Gillingham, although without creating a clear-cut opportunity to take the lead.

Their display became sloppier midway through the period, however, and Bolton came into it more and more and had the half’s best chances with Walton making the period’s most significant save from Charles.

Four minutes after the restart, the Blues weren’t too far away from going in front. Bonne picked up a poor Bolton pass midway inside the home side’s half and fed Aluko to his right. The Nigerian international brought it inside and after it had taken a touch off a defender, curled a shot not too far past Trafford’s right post.

Aluko threatened again in the 52nd minute when Penney cut in from the left and found him not far outside the area but the forward’s shot was blocked.

From the resultant corner, Bonne turned the ball on at the near post and it was diverted over by Edmundson, according to the referee, although Town appealed for a corner.

The Blues had regained much of their earlier composure and were again in control and seeing most of the ball.

On 58 Norwood went to ground having taken a blow to the head in a collision with Jones, who also subsequently took to the turf. An angry Norwood claimed he had been caught with an elbow and eventually talked his way into referee Madley’s book.

Bolton sent a couple of potentially dangerous balls into the Blues’ box which came to nothing but Town were beginning to dominate the ball, playing more patiently than they had in the second half of the first period. A Penney cross led to the first of three corners, which Wanderers just about defended.

Town made a double change in the 70th minute with Kane Vincent-Young replacing Penney and Celina Norwood. Bolton swapped Charles for Afolayan. Three minutes later, Burns was booked for kicking the ball away after being flagged offside.

In the 74th minute the Trotters went in front. The home side patiently moved the ball around on the edge of the box before Morley was in a position to shoot. Walton saved his strike but Lee was on hand to tap in from close range, his fourth goal against Town having scored three during his time with Sheffield Wednesday.

Town, and in particular Donacien, claimed the former Owl had done so from an offside position but video evidence suggested otherwise.

The Blues, who had conceded for the first time under new boss McKenna, went looking for a leveller. Celina saw a cross-shot from a very tight angle deflected behind, then an Evans cross following a short corner on the right found Woolfenden but the centre-half’s header flew straight at Trafford.

Town continued to push for the leveller, Bonne looping a header over from an Evans cross in the wake of another corner before Trotters skipper Ricardo Santos was booked for a foul in the Blues top scorer.

But it was Bolton who scored the game’s second goal in the 81st minute and in calamitous circumstances for Town. A long ball was played forward for Afolayan, which was intercepted by Edmundson with the Wanderers sub behind him in an offside position.

The Blues centre-half was under no pressure and played the ball back towards Walton having not spotted Afolayan, who gratefully stroked home his third goal of the season against Town. Woolfenden protested to first the linesman and then referee that Afolayan had been offside from the initial pass but to no avail.

Aluko was swapped for Conor Chaplin in the 84th minute as Town looked to get back into a game which looking lost.

Celina cut in from the left and saw a shot blocked, then on 88 Morsy found space to hit a strike from the edge of the box which also found a determined Bolton defender in its way. In the final minute, an Evans effort from distance found Chaplin on the edge of the six-yard box but in an offside position.

Edmundson stooped to head wide in the final minute of injury time but moments later the referee’s whistle signalled an end to new boss McKenna’s 100 per cent start to his time at Town and also Bolton’s five-game losing run.

The Blues had been on top and well in control for spells in both halves but without creating the openings which saw them to last week’s comfortable win at Gillingham. In the second half the Blues spent long periods on the ball without threatening. Bolton had looked the more dangerous side in and around the penalty area.

The result sees Town slip a place to 11th, but still eight points off the play-offs, ahead of next week’s home game against Accrington Stanley.

Bolton: Trafford, Jones (Aimson 90), John, Williams, Santos (c), Johnston, Charles (Afolayan 70), Bakayoko (Delfouneso 90), Fossey, Morley, Lee. Unused: Dixon, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Evans, Morsy (c), Penney (Vincent-Young 70), Aluko (Chaplin 84), Norwood (Celina 70), Bonne. Unused: Hladky, Burgess, Carroll, Chaplin, Pigott. Referee: Bobby Madley (West Yorkshire).

Photo: Pagepix

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BromleyBloo added 17:02 - Jan 15
Well the wheels came off. Sounded like we started well/where we left off against Gills, but after 20 mins Bolton came back in to it and created the better opportunities thereafter. Too many players below par/just not on it and no stand out players mentioned. First goal wins it!

If we are going to feature this season then we really need to win games like this - chance missed, we could’ve been 5 points off the playoffs - and the more we give up increasingly we will need to win every game. Need to go again………………………


cat added 17:03 - Jan 15
Disappointing result, with Bolton losing 5 on the bounce and scoring just once I was optimistic of getting something. Sh!t happens, need a bounce back next week.

Saxonblue74 added 17:03 - Jan 15
Not enough created, lack of consistency, individual errors. Sound familiar?

runningout added 17:04 - Jan 15
Was expecting this result for some sad reason

19781981twtd added 17:06 - Jan 15
Well there goes the hope AGAIN just no fight mid table mediocrity in league 1 f***ing great usual miserable saturday night.

TimmyH added 17:06 - Jan 15
Hmmm...really disappointing today even the dependables weren't dependable, nobody seemed to get going. I think it WAS a case of Gillingham being poor last week rather than us being great, Morsy had the freedom of the park like he did against Doncaster, I bet that wasn't the case today!

Well what ever went wrong today has been consistently happening this eye opener for Mr McKenna which needs to be addressed.

thechangingman added 17:06 - Jan 15
It's gonna happen, but I am maintaining faith...

I truly believe we're onto something with McKenna, and it'll do him no harm to experience this against a team on such a bad run. Humility and realism are ESSENTIAL traits for a Town manager/fan.

Dust ourselves down, then go again...


buzbyblue added 17:07 - Jan 15
You can paint lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig.... looked like we'd regressed 6 months today :(

DaGremloid added 17:08 - Jan 15
Disappointing, but I still feel the rest of this season is more about KM building the side than trying to sneak into the play-offs and win promotion. That said, he has a job on his hands. As I've said before I don't think this squad is as good as we think it is. The silver lining in this result is that KM may be able to see - from a proper match situation - where the squad needs strengthening. It also feels like there is too much time between games at the moment to build momentum and consistency, but the players, or at least some of them, need to knuckle down and work harder.

Onwards and upwards.

AbujaBlue added 17:10 - Jan 15
McKenna had to see one of these performances at some stage, now let's see how he responds to it.

NITFC added 17:10 - Jan 15
Last week we were outstanding against (a very poor) Gillingham.

Realistically we can't expect to be that good every week. However, because of the first half of the season that's exactly what we NEED to do now to have any hope of promotion

I am sure that we will finish higher than 11th (where we are now) but it will need to be some run of results to get into the top 6

Bert added 17:10 - Jan 15
We all wanted a win so we are all disappointed but let’s not see a return of the doom and gloom bearing in mind the points difference remains the same. Reality check today but the club has made a good appointment in KMcK and the club is in good hands. Mistakes cost us today but I’m not going to criticise Walton or Edmundsen for that.

Help added 17:11 - Jan 15
As a fan you are pleased the manager keeps a winning team, but so many had off days, maybe some of them forgot what they have been doing in training and resorted to playing a style pre Kieran. Not on the front foot, no control of the game, did not put a poor keeper under pressure. How so many can be off at one time I do not know. So many not in the game. A real chance for Kieran and the management to realise just how much more work needs to be done with these players. Disappointing.

jas0999 added 17:13 - Jan 15
This is a reality check. Superb last week, but the same bunch of players unrecognisable this. Shockingly bad performance against a poor side who had lost their last five. Not good enough. Lots for the new manager to ponder and improve on.

I, like many others were probably guilty of getting too carried away after last weeks result. Certainly down to earth with a bump after this ‘performance’. We need players who can be consistent. Some very weak links this week.

Very poor. We are unlikely to make the play offs.

blueboy1981 added 17:14 - Jan 15
REALITY CHECK !! - I did warn the ‘hissy fit brigade’ last week … !!!
It didn’t take long - did it … ???

Gforce added 17:16 - Jan 15
Looks like we will be playing Forest Green and Sutton Utd ,next season after all.
Two new grounds to visit, every cloud and all that !

DavoIPB added 17:18 - Jan 15
same style of play as last week except against better opposition. We were closed down and as a result didn't know what to do with the ball.

Terrible performance from every player. Aluko getting frustrated at the quality of the players around him.

SickParrot added 17:24 - Jan 15
As usual a really good performance is followed by a below par performance and defeat. KM was never going to sort out our inconsistency in a few weeks. I am confident that he will do it given time but he will probably need a few new players first.

pennblue added 17:24 - Jan 15
The reality is, Paul Cook already knew the weaknesses in this team, and he would had them addressed on the 1st January. As it is, the new 'manager' now needs to re-learn about the players we have here.

Fortunately, the fixtures have fallen kindly for him, so we may still be able to muster something out of this season.

happybeingblue added 17:27 - Jan 15
This current crop of players show no consistency,can perform one week then the following week they are off the pace, go missing again. cooky had this problem with this group as well reality check for fans who were going way over the top after the last 2 games,suggesting that cook was a poor coach and kieran macca was the new messiah i never bought that idea at all. its a competitive league and unless you show consistency you have no chance of the top 6 and this group of players.. well can they show consistency? i do not see it myself and feel we will finish in the table roughly where we are /deserve to be.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:30 - Jan 15
This was a below-par performance, but it wasn't as bad as some seem to make out. We lacked sharpness and penetration, but for most of the match, we were at least as good as Notlob. Of course, when we gave them the second goal - sh^^ happens - then it was game over. Until then, I think we could have probably got a draw. We need a reaction next Saturday, and I think we'll get one.

brassy added 17:30 - Jan 15
my outlook is the play offs are out of reach the manager needs to use this season to ascess the players get his own players in and move on those he does not want this is not his team and in my humble opinion many are not championship players it will take time COYBs


fizzyblue added 17:35 - Jan 15
I love it when we win but by god do I hate it when we lose 😌

BossMan added 17:40 - Jan 15
So we've gone from playing 4231 every week to playing 352 every week. Bonne was flat, Norwood was flat, Burns not as dangerous playing wing back. I said in the week let's see at least one fresh face and all the experts on here said never change a winning team. My guess is fresh faces and maybe fresh formation next week. McKenna has an elite coach CV but been playing the same starting 11 in the same formation as McGreal.

bluerico added 17:44 - Jan 15
This squad will only see us upper mid table at best. Some players do not seem to have the required mentality. The manager must use the rest of the season to assess what is required, and mould his own squad, hopefully starting in this window. Some players need to be moved on if possible.

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