Bolton Wanderers are now six games unbeaten in League One following victory against Accrington Stanley.
Dapo Afolayan put the hosts in front before half-time versus Accrington at the University of Bolton Stadium with his 14th strike of the season as Wanderers went in leading at the break yesterday on Easter Monday.
Jay Rich-Baghuelou leveled for the visitors early in the second half before Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came off the bench to fire Wanderers back in front.
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Accrington had a goal for Tommy Leigh ruled out for offside before they were reduced to 10 men after Rosaire Longelo was shown a straight red card for fouling Aaron Morley, before Bodvarsson scored his second to wrap up the three points for Wanderers in a 3-1 victory.
Here, we analyse the encounter from a Wanderers perspective and the ups and downs for the Whites.
Bodvarsson on fire as bench makes impact again
The Iceland international took some time to get going fully at Wanderers owing to his lack of game time this season at previous club Millwall prior to his arrival in January.
But now, Bodvarsson looks on fire and improving with every game he plays and, in some ways for him, it is a shame the season is nearly over. Bodvarsson helped changed the game against Stanley as part of reinforcements off the bench through two clinical and well taken strikes.
As well as bright impacts made by Amadou Bakayoko and Kieran Sadlier, Bodvarsson helped make the difference and bodes well for next campaign with a full pre-season under his belt.
Afolayan back on the scoresheet
Afolayan is the club’s top scorer this season in what is his first full campaign in men’s football.
Like Dion Charles, Afolayan had been experiencing a lean spell in front of goal and had last found the back of the net in mid-February in the win over AFC Wimbledon.
The former West Ham United loanee got himself back on the scoresheet on the verge of half-time and it was a welcome sight to see him hitting the back of the net once again and wheeling off in celebration.
With two games to go this season, hopefully another goal or two can come in that time.
Bumper crowd for successful family day
Wanderers held a family day yesterday, their second one of the season with reduced ticket prices on the bank holiday Easter weekend helping to boost the attendance.
The first one against Rotherham United in mid-September attracted a crowd of almost 21,000 spectators.
And yesterday’s game boasted a crowd of more than 19,000 fans as supporters took advantage of the lower ticket prices to watch a 3-1 victory.
Ian Evatt spoke after the game of the connection with the club’s supporters being built all the time and is a source of pride for him and yesterday’s turnout was another clear indication of that.
On course for top 10 finish as momentum builds
Though a late charge for the play-offs ultimately did not come to pass, Wanderers are still on course for a top 10 finish.
For a newly promoted side, that is a fine achievement, and their total of 67 points would in previous years have seen Wanderers in contention for the top six.
They are ahead of Ipswich Town and level on points with Portsmouth, though both teams have a game in hand on Wanderers.
But with a minimum finish of 11th and a possible finish in the top 10 by the end of April, that would be a fine season back in the third tier of English football for Wanderers.
Overzealous refereeing performance
The Easter Monday encounter at the University of Bolton Stadium saw a total of eight bookings made by referee Thomas Bramall.
There was also a red card for Longelo for a high challenge on Wanderers midfielder Morley.
The clash was not a particularly aggressive one or a clash which perhaps merited several yellow cards and Wanderers boss Evatt revealed the frustrations of both sides at how the encounter had been officiated.
It was felt at half-time that it would be unlikely that both sides would finish the clash with 11 men and that proved to be the case, though fortunately Wanderers were not the team with 10 men on the pitch by the time the full-time whistle blew.
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