Bolton Wanderers have made one giant step towards promotion after winning that crucial match at Morecambe this afternoon.
Ben Jackson’s strike in first half stoppage time proved to be the only goal of the game, and it means we will be promoted next week should we beat Exeter at home.
Jackson was the only change in the starting XI – despite the initial noise that he would be available, Declan John was ultimately ruled out. You can’t help be happy for Jackson – he arrived on loan from Huddersfield in January and had been strictly second-choice in favour of John. But Ian Evatt has spoken well of him, and his social media stuff presents the image of someone who was still happy to get behind his team-mates. He got his chance today and emphatically took it, as well as his strike from the edge of the area, he was a good attacking outlet all afternoon. I was a little concerned pre-match that a young player coming into the side for such a big game could be a weak link, but he was anything but.
It was a tough first 20 minutes or so – we just couldn’t get a foothold in the game. Thankfully, Kelvin Mellor daftly reacted to something from Dapo Afolayan and he received a game-changing red card. From there it was a totally different half of football, Morecambe I think didn’t have a shot the rest of that period, and we came forward with a few attacks, before Jackson struck decisively.
The second half was very Bolton, the chances were there but that second goal that would have killed it off just agonisingly wouldn’t come. Before the afternoon was out, we had to do some defensive work too – Matt Gilks made a save from sub McAlinden and fellow replacement Price then saw an effort cleared off the line by Alex Baptiste – a man who looked at one point in the first half as if he may have needed to come off, he got hurt making a block on danger man Carlos Mendes Gomes.
But we’re nearly there now. One win out of either of our last two matches, and we’re back up to League One.