Bolton Wanderers show Championship class to beat Bristol Rovers

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Bristol Rovers ended their first season back in League One with a defeat at the hands of play-off bound Bolton Wanderers.

Shola Shoretire got Bolton off to a good start, tapping in at the back post after a corner, before Luca Hoole equalised for the Gas before the break.

Two goals in seven minutes in the second half from Dan Nlundlu and Aaron Morley secured the points for Bolton, despite a late John Marquis concelation and a guild-edged miss from Scott Sinclair deep into injury time.

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The Gas finish the season in 17th, eight points above the drop zone while Bolton are set to battle Barnsley in the play offs.

The away side had the lion’s share of the ball in the opening stages, leaving Rovers camped inside their own half however the Gas had the first big chance of the game. Josh Coburn robbed Eoin Toal of the ball and set through Aaron Collins however the League One Player of the Season cut in on his right foot and into trouble, with his effort blocked by a Bolton defender.

There were penalty appeals from the away side when Sam Finley slid in on Aaron Morley inside the box. The Rovers skipper got the ball and referee Will Finnie was not interested

Bolton then took the lead mid-way through the first half when Gethin Jones’ met a Josh Sheehan corner. His goalbound header at the front post was tapped in virtually on the goalline by Manchester United loanee Shola Shoretire giving the away side the lead.

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The Gas levelled the scoring just minutes later from their own set piece. It was played short and out to Sam Finley on the edge of the box, his cross evaded everyone in a packed penalty box, striking the post and Luca Hoole was in the right place at the right time to head into an empty net.

Bolton almost took the lead just before the break when a quick throw-in caught Lewis Gibson and Jarell Quansah off guard. Former Rovers loanee Victor Adeboyejo’s first time effort was good, but with James Belshaw beaten the ball clipped off the outside of the post and out harmlessly for a goal kick.

The Gas then had their own chance to grab the lead. Aaron Collins’ linebreaking pass found Scott Sincliar with space down the right. His cross found the unmarked Josh Coburn inside the penalty area but the Middlesbrough loanee’s effort smashed against the bar. The ball then fell back to Grant Ward and somehow Joel Dixon got a hand to it, denying a certain goal.

Coburn received treatment in the aftermath, with the striker looking to collide with the post in his efforts to run onto the ball and he was swapped for John Marquis at the break.

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Belshaw was called into action once more at the beginning of the second half when Grant Ward was dispossessed inside his own box. Shoretire stole the ball and his effort was well struck but Belshaw was equal to it, denying the striker his second of the afternoon.

Bolton took the lead with just over 20 to go when a long ball was headed down by Cameron Jerome into the path of Dan Nlundlu, whose first time effort was placed perfectly into the bottom corner.

It was then seemingly game over five minutes later when Aaron Morley found the top corner from outside the area, with Joey Barton choosing to rotate his squad late on, swapping goalkeepers and giving minutes to Calum Macdonald and Glenn Whelan.

Marquis netted one back with just over five to go, after Collins’ initial flick was saved well by Dixon and Scott Sinclair should’ve completed the comeback in injury time. He was found by Aaron Collins in the box but his half-volley rebounded off the crossbar.

Attendance: 10,085 (1269 away)

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