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Match Reports

Bolton 5-1 TOWN - Defeat sees Town bow out of the FA Cup

2 December 2023

Match Reports

Bolton 5-1 TOWN - Defeat sees Town bow out of the FA Cup

2 December 2023

Town’s FA Cup hopes were dashed away at League One leaders Bolton Wanders who put on a clinical display to advance through to round three thanks to a 5-1 victory on a bitterly cold afternoon.

There were signs in the opening stages that Town were settling into the tie but a first-half hat-trick from Jon Dadi Bodvarsson put the hosts 3-0 ahead before George Thomson reduced the arrears on the stroke of half-time.

Any hopes that Town had of staging a comeback were dashed in the opening minutes of the second half when a Dan Nlundulu brace put the game beyond reach.

Simon Weaver made one change to the side that earned a point after overturning a 2-0 deficit at home to Wrexham on Tuesday night. Rod McDonald, who was forced off at half-time in that game with an MCL injury, was replaced by Warren Burrell. There was a welcome return to the bench for Matty Daly following his recent spell on the sidelines.

The home side made seven changes from their midweek outing, a goalless draw at Oxford United that extended their clean sheet run to seven games, with only Nathan Baxter, Gethin Jones, Ricardo Almeida Santos and Jack Iredale again starting this afternoon.

The home were on the front foot within the opening minute with Warren Burrell forced to clear behind for an early corner.

But Wanderers got the lead just inside of ten minutes when Bodvarsson’s strike was too powerful for Mitchell to keep out with the ball going in off the post.

Town responded well to falling behind and a nice move saw the ball played out wide to Josh March who squared into the danger area but it was just beyond the reach of the onrushing Abraham Odoh.

Nlundulu then went close for the hosts with a header from close range but he couldn’t find the target.

Kyle Dempsey then almost caught Town out with a wicked snap shot that Mitchell did well to tip behind for a corner.

Another good move for Town saw Odoh get a shot away but there were plenty of Bolton bodies behind the ball to deflect the ball behind.

Jack Muldoon then struck a shot after Thomson’s quick thinking saw him launch a throw in behind the home defence. His effort lacked the direction and power to beat Nathan Baxter though.

On 34 minutes Town were 2-0 as that man Bodvarsson struck his second of the afternoon before he secured the match ball ten minutes later when he poked home despite Town numbers on the line.

Thomson gave Town hope on the stroke of half-time when he rifled home from the edge of the area.

Hopes of a famous comeback were dashed within five minutes of the restart when Nlundulu struck twice. His first was a powerful left-footed effort from just inside the box and his second a right-footed effort that looped over Mitchell.

Nlundulu almost had his hat-trick on 65 minutes but his finish lacked composure and he blazed high over the bar.

Simon Weaver made four changes with just under 20 minutes remaining, a move that saw Josh Falkingham, Matty Daly, Liam Gibson and Levi Sutton replace Dean Cornelius, Stephen Dooley, Burrell and Odoh.

The hosts too rang the changes with progression to round three secured, utilising their bench to make the maximum five permitted changes with goalscorers Bodvarsson and Nlundulu both withdrawn and a return to action for Zac Ashworth.

 Despite their advantage and re-shaped line-up the hosts continued to look for goals with the Town defence under pressure on more than one occasion.

Town’s fifth and final change of the afternoon saw Jeremy Sivi introduced in place of March with just over then minutes remaining.

The right foot of Thomson almost delivered a late goal for Town with his inswinging free-kick causing  problem for the Wanderers backline before the ball was cleared to safety.

Thomson then fired wide before Daly saw an effort saved by Baxter in the final minutes with Town’s final chance of the afternoon as they bowed out at the second round stage for the second successive season.

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