Rovers fall to Bolton defeat

Bristol Rovers 0-2 Bolton Wanderers
Sky Bet League One, The Memorial Stadium, Saturday 6 April 2024


Bristol Rovers fell to a 2-0 home defeat to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers at The Memorial Stadium. 

Former Rovers attacker Aaron Collins opened the scoring early in the second half, calmly finishing against the run of the play to put the Trotters ahead. 

Chris Martin thought he had done enough to give Rovers the lead just moment earlier, only for his close-range header to be somehow kept out by Nathan Baxter.

In a game of few clear-cut opportunities, it was the visitors who made theirs count and wrapped up the win deep in injury time as substitute Aaron Morley scored from the penalty spot.

The changeable early Spring conditions made themselves known in the South West as the swirling winds of Storm Kathleen were felt throughout the fixture. 

A quick free-kick almost worked in Rovers’ favour early on but Jevani Brown was flagged offside, before Bolton’s Jon Bodvarsson was just an outstretched boot away from connecting with a well-placed cross. 

The away side tried their luck through Paris Maghoma, who saw his effort from outside the area sail over the cross-bar, but the best move of the half fell to the Gas. 

Created thanks to Scott Sinclair’s strength down the left, a quick shift in play allowed Antony Evans to find Luke Thomas on the opposite flank. The No11 took a touch and fired an effort on goal, forcing Bolton’s Nathan Baxter into his first save of the afternoon at his new post.

Evans himself then stung Baxter’s glove with a fierce effort from a narrow angle as the home side ended the first half the stronger, and happier, of the two teams.

Eager to capitalise on the strong end to the first half, Rovers went immediately on the attack in the second. 

Martin thought he had put the Gas ahead just 30 seconds after the restart, heading Thomas’ cross towards goal, but Baxter’s late save stopped the whole of the ball from crossing the line. 

Still Rovers pressed. Thomas forced Baxter into another stop before the Bolton goalkeeper again denied Martin from a narrow angle. It was a spell that the side were determined to make the most of. 

Ever the nature of football however, that having held on through the pressure. Bolton would score with their very next attack. It would be a man Rovers supporters knew only too well in Collins, who dinked the ball over Jed Ward to give Wanderers the advantage against his former side. 

Taylor’s team continued to search for the all-important finish. Evans had another effort blocked, before a trio of changes for the hosts saw Grant Ward, Lewis Gordon and John Marquis enter the fray.

It was Ward who pulled an effort wide in the final moments of the game, but deep in added time Bolton doubled their lead.

Substitute Morley made no mistake from the penalty spot, after Connor Taylor was judged to have committed a foul, and the points were wrapped up by the away side.


Bristol Rovers: Ward, Connolly (Gordon 73), Wilson, Taylor, Thomas, Conteh (McCormick 89), Evans (c), Sinclair, Aguilera (Ward 73)  Brown (Marquis 73), Martin

Subs not used: Cox, Rossiter, Hoole

Booked: Evans, Thomas, Martin, Connolly, Conteh, Taylor


Bolton Wanderers: Baxter, Dacres-Cogley, Toal, Almeida Santos ©, Iredale (Taylor 90+9), Ogbeta (Williams 90+9), Sheehan (Morley 77), Thomason, Bodvarsson, Collins (Jerome 77), Maghoma (Dempsey 67)

Subs not used: Coleman, Forrester,

Goals: Collins 52, Morley 90+8 penalty, 

Booked: Iredale, Baxter


Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 8,814

Read Time: 3 mins