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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
John McDougall

Dempsey, Afolayan, Bradley - Five ups from Bolton Wanderers' impressive win over Wycombe

Bolton Wanderers got their first win of the new League One season with a 3-0 win over Wycombe.

The Whites took the lead in the first half when Kyle Dempsey finished to give the Whites the advantage following good work from Liverpool loanee Conor Bradley. They doubled their lead just before the break when Aaron Morley slotted home from Dapo Afolayan's pass.

Dempsey added his second after the break as Wanderers ran out worthy 3-0 winners. It leaves the Whites third in the League One table after two matches so far.

READ MORE: Gareth Ainsworth gives verdict on Bolton Wanderers transfer business & season potential

Here, we reflect and analyse the first win of the season for the Whites. Here's what we picked up from the victory.


Afolayan unplayable

Afolayan is yet to open his goalscoring account for this season after being the club's top scorer last campaign with 14 strikers. Yesterday against the Chairboys, he did everything but score.

The attacker played upfront again alongside Amadou Bakayoko but appeared to have a license to roam across the forward line and to come deep to collect the ball. He caused Wycombe problems throughout his time on the pitch, drawing tackle after tackle as the visitors struggled to cope with him.

He notched a sublime assist for Morley's goal as he timed his pass to perfection for the midfielder to latch on to and finish. The attacker may not have got on the scoresheet, but it was one of those peformances from Afolayan where the opposition simply could not live with him.

Bradley continues to impress

Bradley had an impressive competitive debut last weekend for Wanderers against Ipswich Town. He won the penalty at Portman Road in the 1-1 draw.

The Liverpool loanee was handed his first home start for Wanderers and he was part of a vibrant right hand side of the pitch for the Whites. He notched his second assist with the run into the box for the opener.

The teenager demonstrated throughout his offensive and defensive capabilities and shone up and down the right flank as he combined well with experienced defender Gethin Jones. The 19-year-old still has areas to improve upon, but Wanderers look to have quite the player on their hands this campaign.

Defence watertight with clean sheet

The shutout against the Chairboys was Bolton's first clean sheet of the season. Wycombe were restricted to just three shots on target throughout.

For a side with the aerial presence of the experienced Sam Vokes, Wanderers were for the most part dominant and composed when balls came into their box. Ricardo Santos got his head on most deliveres which came from the flanks.

Wanderers were saved by the post from Lewis Wing's first half effort when the score remained 1-0. But that was the only real time where the Whites looked in real danger of surrendering their clean sheet.

Midfield runners cause problems

Wanderers set up with MJ Williams at the base of the midfield providing the defensive anchor. It meant Dempsey and Morley were free to run from midfield and latch onto balls.

They did this time and time again throughout and the second and third goals in particular came from the pair running from the middle of the park to latch on to passes. It was a tactic Wycombe struggled to contain throughout.

Usually Wanderers operate with an advanced number 10 but that was not really the case against the Chairboys. It was an experiment which worked well and will surely give Wanderers boss Ian Evatt food for thought going forwards.

Dempsey's best game for Bolton so far

Dempsey's time at Wanderers has been largely stop-start since his January move from Gillingham. Injuries have been responsible for this.

But the midfielder has got a full pre-season under his belt and looked sharp when handed his first start of the season. He helped lead the press out of possession and showed quality with the ball when he received it.

The two goals he notched were clinical finishes and he could perhaps have even had a hat trick and taken the matchball home. This was unquestionably Dempsey's best performance in a Wanderers shirt so far.


Could and should have been more goals

The only 'down' from such a result and performance was the scoreline. It could and should have been by a greater margin.

Wanderers had chances to add to their lead throughout the clash. Chances went begging for Bakayoko, Dempsey saw an effort saved which would have been a hat-trick, while Declan John could have got on the scoresheet with one of the last actions of the game.

A 3-0 scoreline was more than deserved and the least Wanderers should have won by. It could have been by four or five quite easily, but that's a hugely encouraging aspect.

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