Oxford United 2-4 Bolton Wanderers

Bolton boss Phil Parkinson was left a relieved man as his side survived heavy pressure at Oxford United to escape with all three points.

First half strikes from Filipe Morais and Mark Beevers put the away side in control before Oxford forward Kane Hemmings halved the deficit before half time.

An unfortunate own goal from U’s defender Chey Dunkley restored Bolton’s two goal lead but Chris Maguire’s free kick gave Oxford hope before a late Josh Vela goal sealed victory for Bolton.

The win cements Bolton’s place in the automatic promotion places with a four-point cushion, while defeat deals Oxford’s play-off hopes a huge blow with just eight games left.

 

Bolton came firing out of the blocks and opened the scoring within 3 minutes. Josh Vela floated in a cross for Madine to header from point-blank range, only for Eastwood to produce a stunning save. However, Filipe Morais was on hand to power in the rebound from six yards into the roof of the net.

Oxford were finding it hard to get a grip of the opening exchanges, with the away sides’ extra man in midfield proving a challenge to deal with. Chances were at a premium as the side in yellow were restricted to shots from distance against a stubborn Bolton defence.

As the U’s were gaining a foothold in the game, they were dealt with a sucker punch. Referee Ross Joyce judged a coming together on the edge of the Oxford box to be a foul by defender Chey Dunkley. From the resulting kick, Morais struck the woodwork with help from the fingertips of keeper Eastwood. There was again no rest bite as Bolton defender Mark Beevers was first to react to slot home for a second goal.

With the away team content to protect their two-goal lead, Oxford struggled to make their possession count until late in the first half. After a hopeful cross from Edwards caused mayhem in the Bolton penalty area, U’s forward Kane Hemmings bundled the ball over the line following a goal line clearance from Beevers.

The second half started as the first ended, with the home side on the front foot and Bolton happy to rest in their shape. Yet a rare Bolton foray into the Oxford half led to a calamity in the home side’s box. A long throw was glanced on by the towering Beevers and Dunkley headed into his own net under pressure from Madine.

This sparked Oxford into life. A rocket from thirty yards from Marvin Johnson was superbly tipped onto the post by Wanderers’ keeper Jack Alnwick. But with fifteen minutes remaining, Chris Maguire whipped an unstoppable twenty-yard free kick

However after severe Oxford pressure, Bolton broke forward in stoppage time, with Madine sending Josh Vela through on goal to finish smartly from the edge of the area.

 

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