Bolton Wanderers 2 Fleetwood Town 1: Quick one-two floors Joey Barton’s players

Fleetwood Town's Harry Souttar reacts after Bolton Wanderers' first goal
Fleetwood Town's Harry Souttar reacts after Bolton Wanderers' first goal
Share this article

Fleetwood Town blew the chance to close in on the League One automatic promotion places as they slid to a disappointing defeat at bottom club Bolton Wanderers.

They were second best on a frustrating afternoon, as sub Josh Morris’ smart late strike proved little more than a consolation.

Boss Joey Barton made just the single alteration to his starting line-up following the previous weekend’s victory against MK Dons.

The matchwinner on that occasion – Ched Evans – was handed a start from the off in place of Morris.

Town flew out of the blocks with only 40 seconds on the clock when Evans sent over a terrific cross for Wes Burns, who nodded narrowly over from just inside the six-yard box.

In the 13th minute, Fleetwood threatened again when Jordan Rossiter played in Kyle Dempsey, though his thumping strike from 20 yards was deflected for a corner.

It was 22 minutes before Bolton produced any kind of threat.

Thibaud Verlinden danced down the left flank before seeing Harry Souttar get in the way of his shot.

A minute later, Verlinden fluffed a great opportunity when scooping over the top following some terrific approach play by Joe Dodoo.

Two Bolton goals in five minutes then well and truly gave Keith Hill’s side lift-off.

On 28 minutes, Souttar’s dismal attempt at a backpass was intercepted by Chris O’Grady, who bundled the ball past Alex Cairns.

Daryl Murphy made it two, rounding the keeper and slotting home after latching onto Dodoo’s through ball.

Fleetwood had been stunned but ought to have halved the deficit before the interval when Paddy Madden sent a free header over from Lewie Coyle’s cross.

It took a while for Barton’s men to get truly going in the second period.

Bolton threatened a third when Cairns had to be alert to keep out Dodoo’s free-kick from just outside the box.

The visitors replied with Coyle curling inches wide from 25 yards before Barton made a triple substitution on the hour mark.

He introduced Morris, Conor McAleny and Ashley Hunter, but it had little effect initially as Bolton almost added a third when their sub Dennis Politic was denied by Cairns.

The keeper produced a fine one-handed save to keep out O’Grady’s low volley in the 73rd minute before Town eventually got on the scoresheet late on.

Morris drilled a shot home from 20 yards but Bolton hung on for three points.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Emmanuel, Zouma, Wright, Chicksen, Dodoo, Murphy, Lowe, Verlinden (Politic 55, Graham 89), O’Grady, Murphy. Subs not used: Weir, Hall, Boon, Senior, Alexander.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Souttar, Dunne, Andrew, Burns (Morris 60), Coutts, Rossiter (McAleny 60), Dempsey, Evans, Madden (Hunter 60). Subs not used: Crellin, Clarke, Biggins, Mooney.

Referee: Scott Oldham.

Attendance: 12,756.