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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
John McDougall

Comeback, substitutes impact - Three ups and one down for Bolton Wanderers in Fleetwood Town win

Bolton Wanderers came from behind to claim three points on the road against Fleetwood Town.

The Whites came from 1-0 down on the road against the Cod Army. Carlos Mendes Gomes had given the hosts the lead in the first half of the clash.

But Wanderers were the dominant side in the encounter at Highbury Stadium and got back on level terms thanks to Conor Bradley's equaliser. The Whites took a deserved three points when Dapo Afolayan struck deep in injury time to claim a 2-1 win.

READ MORE: Liverpool youngster Owen Beck's first Bolton League One start verdict in Fleetwood win

Here, we analyse the victory from a Wanderers perspective and pick out the ups and downs from the encounter.


Another comeback shows fighting spirit and character

Wanderers were staring down the barrel of a frustrating loss on the road before 85 minutes. The Whites had dominated the clash at Highbury Stadium creating chance after chance that were not taken.

That changed five minutes from the end when Bradley stroked home from Sadlier's cross. Afolayan completed the comeback deep into injury time to secure a more than deserved three points.

It is not the first time Wanderers have shown character to come from behind on the road, as was demonstrated just a few weeks ago with the victory against Accrington Stanley. It was yet another reminder Ian Evatt's side do not know when they are defeated.

Substitutes impact

Evatt called to his strong bench in the second half to influence the encounter. On came Sadlier, Sheehan and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

All three had an impact and Sadlier perhaps made the greatest one, putting in the cross which led to Bradley's equaliser. He put in several great deliveries from the left as he was able to operate almost pretty much as a winger.

Sheehan too notched an assist with a well delivered cross which Afolayan stroked home. The substitutes helped to win the game on the Fylde Coast and made the impact they were intended to.

Back in the top six

Wanderers had dropped out of the play-off places following last weekend's draw on the road to Cambridge United. However, an opportunity opened up to get back in it when fellow top six hopefuls Derby County and Portsmouth shared the spoils on Friday night.

The three points picked up at Highbury saw Wanderers move back into fifth place in the table, above both Pompey and the Rams. The Whites have the benefit of a game in hand over the four sides above them in the table.

They know that at least a point in that game will see them move up to fourth. Perhaps another positive from the current situation is that despite an up and down form, Wanderers are still in the top six, and it boes very well indeed when consistency of results comes around.


Charles struggles in front of goal continues

Evatt spoke in the week that striker Dion Charles, recruited from Accrington Stanley in January, was overthinking when it came to taking aim in front of goal. The Wanderers boss wanted his number 10 to return to playing on instinct.

Though he is the club's top scorer with six goals in all competitions this season, only three of these have come in the league. Like the rest of the club's forwards, Charles has struggled to get a consistent spell in terms of finding the back of the net this campaign.

Charles showed his normal high work rate and pressing which can never be faulted, but there were opportunities for the striker to find the back of the net which were not taken. A key example was in the first half when the striker turned in the box when shooting was perhaps the better call.

Another shot was blazed over after the break, which the striker simply saw the ball go through his legs from a low cross which a Charles in a different form would surely have buried. His fortunes will surely change in time, and Wanderers will hope this comes sooner rather than later.

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