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Match Reports

Match Report | Port Vale 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

30 September 2023

Match Reports

Match Report | Port Vale 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

30 September 2023

Dion Charles' first half strike was the difference at a wet Vale Park this afternoon

The Valiants endured a testing opening 20 minutes of the game which saw the visitors control the ball for large portions. However, for all the ball Bolton possessed they were unable to find the final pass or finish to go in front.

The best chance they created came nine minutes in when Josh Dacres-Cogley slipped Dion Charles through one-on-one with Connor Ripley, however, he sent his effort slightly too far to the right of our number one’s goal.

Despite a bright start for the Trotters during the early proceedings of the game, Vale weathered the storm and began to search for the contest’s opening goal. In the 23rd minute the ball fell to Conor Grant on the edge of the box who volleyed hard into the ground but his goalward attempt was vitally blocked by a Wanderers defender.

The Valiants piled the pressure on the visitors in their hunt for an opener, threatening Nathan Baxter’s goal in the moments immediately after as Funso Ojo ripped a strike from outside the area. Unfortunately, the Trotters keeper gathered the bouncing hit from our midfielder.

After that passage of play, Alex Iacovitti went to ground with an injury and was unable to continue forcing the Valiants into a change.

Following the change the game was played with a frantic tempo with both sides coming close to breaking the deadlock.

Firstly, it was Vale on the 36th minute who could have taken the lead when Nathan Smith connected to Conor Grant’s cross from the left, however, our captain’s headed effort was collected in the arms of Baxter after a deflection took the sting out of it much to the relief of Bolton’s stopper.

Then the visitors crafted an opportunity two minutes later, swinging a ball in from the right side of the Vale area which dropped to Aaron Morley at the back post, but his fiercely struck effort was beaten away for a corner by Ripley at his near post to keep the sides all square.

With three minutes left until the break Dion Charles gave the visitors the lead, after winning the ball back in midfield before bursting through the Vale half and into the box where he slotted the ball low into Ripley’s bottom corner.

The Valiants had a golden opportunity to equalise just three minutes later on the stroke of half time, when Lewis Cass found James Plant in acres of space on the right side of Bolton’s box. From this terrific position, Plant played the ball across the six-yard-box to Ben Garrity who lashed his strike towards the bottom corner, but Baxter brilliantly turned the ball out for a corner with his legs.

Garrity’s chance was the last action of the first half with the visitors taking a one-goal advantage into the break.

Half-time substitute Gavin Massey carved out the first opportunity for an equaliser after when he whipped a quality delivery towards the back post which was met by Plant whose headed effort across goal was intercepted by Baxter.

With 53 minutes on the clock, the Trotters initiated their first attack after the restart when Randall Williams found a pocket of space outside the area and hooked away a left-footed shot which Ripley battered behind with two strong hands to keep the deficit at one.

The hosts pressed relentlessly for the leveller and a chance from a set piece arose in the 69th minute with a free kick on the left side of the Wanderers’ box. Ojo fizzed the ball in, and Smith glanced his head towards it steering his aerial attempt too high of the Bolton net and over the bar.

Vale came inches to drawing the clash level in the 73rd minute after a Kofi Balmer headed sailed narrowly wide of Baxter’s net following a cross from Grant.

With 10 minutes of play remaining, two substitutes linked up for the Valiants with Tom Sang delivering a ball into the are from the right flank onto the head of Massey who forced a diving stop from Baxter in Bolton’s goal.

The official indicated there would be five minutes of additional time, a period which saw Vale’s unrelenting pursuit of an equaliser continue. The best opportunity to claim a deserved leveller came in the final minute of stoppage time when the ball fell to Ojo on the edge of the box but he curled an effort just too high of the visitors’ net.

From the following goal kick, the ball was kicked long, and the referee blew his whistle for full time.

Port Vale| Connor Ripley, Kofi Balmer (Jesse Debrah 74’), Nathan Smith (Tom Sang 74’), Ben Garrity, Alfie Devine (Gavin Massey 46’), Funso Ojo, Conor Grant, Alex Iacovitti (Lewis Cass 25’), Ollie Arblaster, James Plant, James Wilson (Josh Thomas 46’)

Unused Subs: Jayson Leutwiler, Jason Lowe

Bolton Wanderers| Nathan Baxter, Jack Iredale, Josh Sheehan, Dion Charles (Cameron Jerome 80’), Dan Nlundulu (Jon Boduarsson 66’), Josh Dacres-Cogley, Will Forrester, Aaron Morley, Eoin Toal, Kyle Dempsey, Randall Williams (Zac Ashworth 90+1’)

Unused Subs: Ben Andreucci, Joel Coleman, Nelson Khumbeni, Luke Matheson

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