Shrewsbury Town fall to an 89th minute defeat as they extend their winless home league record against Bolton to eight matches.
Shrewsbury were targeting a fifth clean sheet in a row and looked odds on to achieve that feat as the game drew to a close. However, Northern Ireland international Dion Charles effectively won the game for the visitors just before injury time.
Despite Town’s excellent recent defensive record, Steve Cotterill’s side have netted just once in the previous four matches – a sure sign that additional firepower is required.
For the sixth match in a row Shrewsbury were unchanged. Nottingham Forest loanee Ty Fornah was included on the bench ahead of a possible debut.
The visitors were also unchanged from the side that beat Ipswich 2-0 last time out. Ian Evatt may have thought he would need to change his line-up as ex-Shrewsbury loanee Marlon Fossey required a scan in midweek. But the American recovered, although he may wish he had stayed at home having clattered into Marko Marosi in the opening exchanges.
Shrewsbury began brightly as Santos’ haphazard clearance could have gone anywhere, but his teammate James Trafford was left untroubled. Then, Elliott Bennett’s header bounced wide as Shrewsbury sought an early goal.
Josh Vela made his affiliations for his former side known when he revealed he would not celebrate should he register a goal. The midfielder was denied by Gethin Jones who produced a superb block. Bolton were relatively lacklustre in the final third during the opening 15 minutes but had one of their players gambled to attack Declan John’s cross they may have taken an early lead.
Town continued to probe. Josh Vela kicked fresh air although the ball did fall kindly for Elliott Bennett. The ex-Norwich City man could only blaze his strike over the crossbar. Moments later, Ryan Bowman found himself in acres of space on the edge of the box and James Trafford managed to get down low to thwart the striker.
It continued to be one-way traffic. Town countered a Bolton corner and eventually moved possession to Josh Vela. However, he failed to keep his composure and fired the effort into Row Z. Shrewsbury’s defenders were finally worked as they managed to send Dion Charles down a cul-de-sac as he attempted to work an opening inside the area.
In the final action of a first-half which belonged to Shrewsbury, Gethin Jones’ clearance reached Elliott Bennett who lifted a half-volley narrowly over the crossbar.
The visitors finally posed a threat in the opening stages of the second half. Marlon Fossey’s delivery was aimed toward former Walsall forward Bakayoko, but he was unable to steer his header on target. At the other end, Josh Vela threaded a pass through to Ryan Bowman – George Johnston was quick on his feet to cover and make the challenge.
Hot-shot Dan Udoh was relatively quiet, but he finally sprang into action. The Nigerian produced a sharp turn and drilled a shot goalward which James Trafford tipped round the post. Udoh then turned provider for Ryan Bowman but his guided attempt was comfortably gathered by Trafford.
Town continued to exert pressure. George Nurse’s lofted cross was powered over the crossbar by Ryan Bowman as the opening goal remained elusive. Bolton had half-hearted calls for a penalty turned down as Afolayan hit the deck, but the referee ignored the winger’s protestations. Town were soon back on the attack once more and earned a corner. The delivery was met by Matthew Pennington who was unable to keep his header on target.
Stopper Marko Marosi may as well not have been on the field for 70 minutes as he was largely a bystander. He was called into action to parry Dion Charles’ strike from the edge of the box, in what was Bolton’s best chance so far. Dion Charles also nearly connected to crosses from Declan John and Marlon Fossey, but both evaded the former Accrington striker.
Town responded through George Nurse but his effort was claimed by Trafford at the second attempt. The visitors rallied toward the end of the contest as Marko Marosi was once again forced to deny Dion Charles. But the latter wheeled away in celebration moments later as Wanderers stole all three points. The 26-year-old picked up the baton on the right-hand side and thundered an effort from long-range beyond Marko Marosi.
The home side looked crestfallen and Tom Bloxham’s wayward shot was the only response they had. Shrewsbury were punished for their failure to convert as they find themselves in 18th place – the visitors move up to 15th.
Steve Cotterill will be searching for a response when his side visit strugglers Gillingham on Tuesday night – Bolton welcome Sunderland next Saturday.
Attendance: 8,027 (1,651 away fans)
Team Line Ups
1. Marosi, 5. Pennington, 4. Ebanks-Landell, 23. Nurse, 17. Bennett, 10. Vela, 16. Davis, 3. Leahy, 14. Ogbeta (90), 12. Bowman, 11. Udoh (78)
Subs: 6. Pierre, 8. Fornah, 13. Burgoyne, 15. Pyke, 18. Bloxham (90), 22. Daniels, 28. Janneh (78)
Subs Not Used: 6. Pierre, 8. Fornah, 13. Burgoyne, 15. Pyke, 22. Daniels
19. Trafford, 2. Jones, 5. Santos, 6. Johnston, 13. Fossey, 4. Williams, 16. Morley, 3. John, 20. Lee (45), 10. Charles, 11. Bakayoko (66)
Subs: 9. Bodvarsson (66), 12. Dixon, 15. Aimson, 17. Afolayan (45), 25. Thomason, 27. Baptiste, 29. Gordon
Subs Not Used: 12. Dixon, 15. Aimson, 25. Thomason, 27. Baptiste, 29. Gordon
Other League One Results
Burton 1 – 1 AFC Wimbledon
Cambridge 1 – 0 Crewe
Charlton 2 – 0 Fleetwood
Ipswich 2 – 1 Accrington
MK Dons 0 – 1 Doncaster
Morecambe 3 – 2 Wycombe
Oxford 3 – 2 Sheffield Wednesday
Plymouth 1 – 2 Lincoln
Rotherham 1 – 0 Cheltenham
Sunderland 1 – 0 Plymouth
Wigan 3 – 2 Gillingham