Narrow defeat after Ball handed half-time lead
Fleetwood Town were narrowly beaten by top-of-the-league Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at the Macron Stadium.
David Ball had given the Cod army a half-time lead, only forGary Madine to cancel it out before Josh Vela sealed the win for the Wanderers five minutes from time.
Town made two changes to the side that beat Oxford United midweek as Ashley Hunter and Victor Nirennold came in to replace Bobby Grant and Devante Cole. Bolton Wanderers started the game with an unchanged side in an attempt to stop Fleetwood’s unbeaten run.
Fleetwood produced the first chance of the game as Ashley hunter found some space on the edge of Bolton box and unleashed a shot but unfortunately, the shot flew wide of the mark.
Bolton’s first attack of the game was ended abruptly after Mark Davies took a tumble inside the Town box but the referee judged it as a dive and booked the attacker straight away.
The game saw its first shot on target in the 17th minute as an outside the foot lobbed ball by McLaughlin found front man David Ball, but his volley was easily caught by Mark Howard.
Then it was the Whites’ turn to attack as Liam Trotter’s shot trickled wide of thee right hand post, even though the midfield man had no pressure around him.
Bolton carried on pressing as Josh Vela found some space down the right wing but luckily for Town, captain Nathan Pond closed down the attacker and blocked his shot.
In the 25th minute, Town came close to an opener as Hunter unleashed a drilled shot towards the bottom left corner but Howard was a match. The parry fell to the feet of Nirennold whose shot struck Ball and went wide.
Nine minutes later, the deadlock was broken after Bolton lost possession of the ball in their own box. Hunter pounced onto the Bolton defence winning the ball only for Bal to strike the ball towards goal, earning Town the lead.
The home side almost had an immediate equaliser as Chris Neal was called into action by substitute Kaiyne Woolery but his shot was smothered by the rushing keeper. Straight after, Neal was called into action again as Mark Beevers connected with Jay Spearing’s free-kick but his header was caught easily by the Fleetwood keeper.
Fleetwood almost doubled their lead with just three minutes to go in the first half as Ball profited from poor defensive work by Bolton but Howard was able to save the low shot in time.
Bolton started out the better in the second half as Gary Madine, after forcing Neal into a good save, equalised the game after a scruffy piece of play saw the ball drop to the striker’s feet, in the six-yard box, before he powered it into the back of the net.
On the hour mark, Eggert Jonsson tried to fire Fleetwood back into the lead but his outside the foot shot wasn’t quick enough to get passed the prepared Howard.
Fleetwood carried on the pressure as Chris Long fired a strike on target which Howard is just able to push wide for a corner. The following corner almost saw a chance for Ball but it was blocked well by the home defence.
Chris Neal showed his dominance 20 minutes from time as he managed to pull off a double save, the first shot coming from Woolery, the second from Davies and a third from Woolery, which was blocked by Nathan Pond.
In the 80th minute, substitute Bobby Grant was allowed some space 30-yards away from goal but his strike was pushed over the bar.
With just over five minutes to go, Bolton Wanderers took the lead from a Josh Vela strike, which met the top left corner after a pull back from substitute Woolery.
The last chance of the game fell to Nirennold in the 94th minute as Howard dropped the ball onto the midfielders foot but his strike flew over the bar, not troubling the Bolton defenders.
The Attendance for the game was 13,524 with 538 Fleetwood Town supporters.
BWFC: Mark Howard, Lewis Buxton, Dean Moxey, Mark Beevers, Josh Vela, Jay Spearing, Zach Clough (Kaiyne Woolery, 33), Gary Madine (Conor Wilkinson, 79), Mark Davies, Liam Trotter, David Wheater.
UNUSED SUBS: Ben Amos, Chris Taylor, Derik Osede, Andrew Taylor, Lawrie Wilson.
FTFC: Chris Neal, Conor McLaughlin, Nathan Pond, Ashley Eastham, Amari’i Bell, Eggert Jonsson (Aaron Amadi-Holloway, 60), Jimmy Ryan, Victor Nirennold, David Ball (Devante Cole, 77), Ashley Hunter (Bobby Grant, 60), Chris Long.
UNUSED SUBS: Alex Cairns, Ricardo Kip, Cian Bolger, Michael Duckworth.
REFEREE: Darren England (REF)
Ass. REFEREES: Matthew Parry, Darren Strain, Barry Cropp.