Shrewsbury Town are left to rue a Ryan Bowman missed spot-kick as an Antoni Sarcevic inspired Bolton seal the three points.
Another game – another former Shrewsbury Town player notching against his former side. Antoni Sarcevic failed to score in 15 games for Town, but needed just 18 minutes to open the scoring against his ex-employers.
The floodgates threatened to be opened when Oladapo Afolayan doubled his sides lead five minutes later. Shrewsbury were awarded a 57th minute penalty, but Ryan Bowman failed to convert from 12 yards.
That miss would prove costly as despite Luke Leahy reducing the arrears, Town were once again on the wrong side of the scoreline.
Town boss Steve Cotterill named the same eleven that slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Wycombe in midweek. Josh Vela was denied a return to Bolton as he remains out with a knee problem.
The hosts started brightly. Gethin Jones and former Huddersfield forward Elias Kachunga linked up superbly – Marko Marosi took decisive action to rush off his line and clear the danger. At the other end, Santos’ clearance dropped straight to Shaun Whalley – he let fly and George Johnstone produced a goal saving block.
The visitors were beginning to probe. A Town corner was met at the back stick by Aaron Pierre – Dan Udoh tried to shovel the ball beyond Joel Dixon, but his effort was off target. Bolton were being forced into last ditch defending, Santos stood up bravely to deny both Dan Udoh and Ryan Bowman. Shrewsbury continued to crank up the pressure, Ryan Bowman’s dangerous low cross was pounced upon by Shaun Whalley, but Bolton managed to smuggle the ball behind.
Despite a good spell of Town pressure, it was Bolton who took the lead. Shrewsbury were countered from their own corner with Antoni Sarcevic eventually picking up the baton. He let fly from distance and his powerful effort found the top corner beating Marko Marosi all ends up.
Oladapo Afolayan cleared the crossbar as Town struggled to keep their hosts at bay. And in the 23rd minute, Afolayan gave his side a 2-0 lead. The ex-West Ham forward rode three Town challenges prior to placing a strike into the bottom corner of the goal.
Bolton were comfortable in possession, but Joel Dixon breathed a sigh of relief, as George Nurse’s cross dropped just over the bar. Town continued to have moments of their own. Shaun Whalley beat Joel Dixon to the punch, and cut the ball back for what would have been a simple tap-in, however, MJ Williams came back to clear his lines.
Bolton had their big centre half Santos to thank for going into the break in a commanding position. Elliott Bennett’s effort looked to be heading for the back of the net, but Santos arrived to clear off the line.
The home side continued to exert pressure into the second period. Afolayan threaded a pass through to Kieran Lee but the former Sheffield Wednesday man could only prod straight at Marko Marosi.
Shrewsbury were handed a chance to get themselves back in the contest. Shaun Whalley was fouled by his former teammate Antoni Sarcevic and the responsibility was handed to Ryan Bowman. The striker infuriated the Town bench by attempting to chip his penalty, but Joel Dixon stood still to punch away the effort.
Ryan Bowman had a chance to redeem himself as Sarcevic gifted Town possession. The striker went for goal but George Johnston recovered well to snuff out the danger. Elias Kachunga may have put Bolton out of sight, but his strike from distance was beaten away by Marosi.
Town pulled one back a minute before injury time. Luke Leahy’s excellent free-kick gave Joel Dixon absolutely no chance. The visitors tried and failed to located an equaliser, leaving them planted in the bottom four – Bolton find themselves in 7th place.
Shrewsbury are in EFL Trophy action as they host Wolves U21’s on Tuesday night, Bolton host Liverpool U21’s in the same competition.
Attendance: 13,121 (448 Town fans)
Team Line Ups
12. Dixon, 2. Jones (45), 5. Santos, 6. Johnston, 3. John, 4. Williams, 20. Lee (78), 24. Kachunga, 10. Sarcevic, 17. Afolayan, 9. Doyle (71)
Subs: 7. Delfouneso, 8. Sheehan (78), 11. Bakayoko (71), 23. Isgrove (45), 25. Thomason, 27. Baptiste, 29. Gordon
Subs Not Used: 7. Delfouneso, 25. Thomason, 27. Baptiste, 29. Gordon
1. Marosi, 5. Pennington, 4. Ebanks-Landell, 6. Pierre, 17. Bennett, 16. Davis, 3. Leahy, 23. Nurse, 7. Whalley (80), 12. Bowman (74), 11. Udoh (75)
Subs: 9. Cosgrove (75), 13. Burgoyne, 14. Ogbeta (80), 15. Pyke, 18. Bloxham (74), 19. Caton, 24. Leshabela
Subs Not Used: 13. Burgoyne, 15. Pyke, 19. Caton, 24. Leshabela
Other League One Results
Accrington 2 – 1 Ipswich
AFC Wimbledon 1 – 1 Burton
Cheltenham 0 – 2 Rotherham
Crewe 2 – 2 Cambridge
Doncaster 2 – 1 MK Dons
Fleetwood 1 – 2 Charlton
Gillingham 0 – 2 Wigan
Lincoln 2 – 2 Plymouth
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Sunderland
Sheffield Wednesday 1 – 2 Oxford
Wycombe 4 – 3 Morecambe