Morley, wing-backs, Kryptonite solution – Five ups from Bolton Wanderers’ win vs Gillingham



Bolton Wanderers narrowed the gap to the League One play-offs to seven points with a convincing 3-0 win on the road against relegation-threatened Gillingham

Wanderers took the lead at Priestfield in the first half thanks to a brilliant strike from Aaron Morley for his first goal as a Bolton player.

The Gills went down to 10 men midway through the second half when Daniel Phillips was shown a second yellow card.

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And Wanderers capitalized with the extra man with goals from Declan John and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson before full-time in a scoreline where Bolton could have won by a much greater margin.

Here, we analyze the win in Kent from a Wanderers perspective and the positives and negatives from the game for the Whites.

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Sublime first goal for Morley

As first goals go, Morley’s was quite a special one.

The move was started by MJ Williams who drifted over to the right flank to play in Marlon Fossey who would cause the Gills problems time and again throughout the clash.

Fossey played one of his now characteristic low crosses to a team-mate, but rather than putting it in the six-yard box or on the penalty spot, he found Morley on the edge of box.

Morley had a reputation for netting stunning strikes during his time at Rochdale and he has enhanced that with his first strike for Wanderers.

With one stroke, his first time shot curled into the far left hand corner, giving Gills stopper Aaron Chapman no chance.

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It was a special strike and hopefully the first of many at Bolton for the January signing.

Tribute to Jones family

Gethin Jones was absent from the matchday squad due to being on compassionate leave following the death of his mother Karen.

Wanderers paid wonderful tributes to the Jones family after their terrible loss, donning black armbands and standing in unity on the edge of the center circle in support of the club vice-captain.

And after the win at Priestfield, skipper Ricardo Santos held aloft a Wanderers shirt with Jones on the back of it in tribute to the family and support of such a highly regarded member of the squad and one of several classy touches on the day.

Clean sheet on the road as Wanderers overcome Kryptonite scenario

Before the game, Wanderers boss Ian Evatt described the type of game Bolton would likely face at Priestfield as their Kryptonite.

They have fallen foul at the likes of Burton Albion and Fleetwood Town in the past, and rescued a point on the road to Morecambe.

But against an aerial bombardment on the home patch of a team near the bottom of League One, Wanderers stood up to the test superbly well.

They did the ugly side of the game well on the road and won the ball back quickly after losing it with their counterpress, which in turn sapped energy and confidence from their opponents.

It is perhaps a blueprint to follow when similar tests come before the end of the campaign.

Wing-backs evolve and impress

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Wanderers’ wing-backs in the form of John and Marlon Fossey have been a big part of Bolton’s recent rise up the table.

And their attacking prowess was on full show at Priestfield, with John scoring and perhaps being unfortunate to not have another.

Fossey meanwhile bagged two assists from the right flank as the Fulham loanee put in another impressive performance.

What is perhaps exciting is that there is more to come from the duo with Evatt planning more work with them to see if they can have more of an impact centrally, as they did at Priestfield.

Play-off gap reduced

The win in Kent coupled with results elsewhere in League One on Saturday afternoon has seen Wanderers slightly reduce the gap to the top six.

There is now seven points between them and the play-offs, compared to the eight that stood at 3pm.

Wanderers have 10 games left to go and it is perhaps too big an ask to reach the top six, all things considered.

But Bolton remain in the conversation and a lot of football is still to be played between now and the end of April, with the three points at Priestfield ensuring they can still be spoken about as at least outsiders for the play-offs at this moment in time.

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Could and should have been more goals

The only negative from a thoroughly positive afternoon at Priestfield was that the margin of victory could and should have been greater.

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Dion Charles had two great chances to score in the first half before Morley broke the deadlock with a truly special strike.

And after the hosts had gone down to 10 men, Wanderers were perhaps a tad guilty of overplaying things at times when a shot could have been on but passed again.

As Wanderers boss Ian Evatt referred afterwards, it could have been a greater margin of victory and it is difficult to disagree with that statement.




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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