Match Report: Bolton 1-0 Rochdale
- A feisty derby match encounter at the top of League One saw Bolton defeat fellow promotion chasers Rochdale at the Macron Stadium last night, 15 February
- Attendance: 13,313
A goalless opening 45 minutes presented little goal-scoring opportunities for both teams; Bolton had the best chances of the half with efforts from former Rochdale loanee, Gary Madine, looking threatening from the offset for the hosts.
As anticipated, a tight clash between two North West high-flyers was always going to present goals, with the deadlock finally being broken on the 83rd minute, after a debatable Filipe Morais goal scrambled into the Dale net.
Despite Dale’s position in the league, they’ve been without a goal for four games, and started the game off showing very little attacking content. It was the Wanderers Portuguese winger, Morais, causing all the problems from the outset, a number of nicely floated crosses causing confusion in the visiting side’s penalty area.
With chances few and far between during the first half, it was on the half-hour mark that Gary Madine’s looping header caused Joseph Rafferty to clear it off the line sparking life into the game.
With the Wanderers pressure mounting and half time looming, Keith Hill’s sides resolute defending saw Liam Trotters point-blank shot blocked by Mark Kitching on the line denying the home side a goal just before the half-time break – the referee waving away protests that he had done so with his arm.
The visitors' lack of recent fire-power was only too evident and it took them until nearly half-time to win their first corner.
A goalless first half saw a resurged Dale side appear after the restart, starting the better of the two sides with Ollie Rathbone’s effort firing inches wide of the far post. Followed by an Ian Henderson half volley into the ground, forcing an empathic save from keeper Ben Alnwick causing a goal-mouth scramble in the six yard box.
These early signs of pressure from Dale instilled some confidence in the side still looking for that elusive goal in four matches, causing Wanderers to defend a succession of attacks.
Just after the hour mark, Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson introduced some fresh new legs in the hope of injecting some firepower to combat the Dale pressure, with forward Chris Long replacing Adam Le Fondre.
With the game neck-and-neck, both teams were relying on someone to save the day and take all three points of what had been a scrappy night of football.
With the final ten minutes to play, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on the 83rd minute following a scramble in the six year box with winger, Morias, credited for the goal after it inched across the line.
Heartbreak for a Dale side edging so close to snatching a victory over local rivals and promotion contenders Wanderers, but jubilation for a Wanderers side that’s pushing for the top two automatic promotion places after their second successive victory.