Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Cheltenham Town – on the whistle match report

KYLE Dempsey came up with the goods for Wanderers as they edged a tense game against Cheltenham Town.

The midfielder grabbed his fourth goal of the season 10 minutes from the end, after Ian Evatt’s side had huffed and puffed for virtually the whole game without managing to break through.

Victor Adeboyejo was handed his full debut as one of two changes, with Declan John also given a first league start since October on the left.

Cheltenham made their intentions known from the start, slowing play down every chance they could and creating an atmosphere of frustration around the ground.

The mood was not helped when ref Sunny Singh Gill turned down an early penalty appeal from Conor Bradley, who looked to have been shoved by Ben Williams.

Wanderers got into some reasonable attacking positions but struggled to find the quality they needed to get on the scoresheet. Dion Charles had a shot on the turn blocked, Adeboyejo and Eoin Toal both skewed shots high and wide from the edge of the area.

As the referee struggled to address Cheltenham’s constant time-wasting, the dissatisfaction around the stadium grew stronger. The biggest groan of the afternoon, however, was reserved for the fourth official, Andy Haines, when he held up the board to indicate only three minutes of time would be added on.

The visitors should have gone ahead early in the second half when Will Goodwin got on the end of Alfie May’s cross but could only flick a header over James Trafford’s crossbar.

It proved a rare break in the one-way traffic. Charles had another close-range effort blocked by sprawling defender Caleb Taylor after a good one-two with Shola Shoretire.

Ian Evatt reached for experience off the bench – 70 years of it, in fact – as he brought on the 36-year-old Cameron Jerome and 34-year-old Kieran Lee.

As the time ticked down, the desperation grew. Dempsey earned a free kick on the edge of the box which looked tailor-made for Morley but the young midfielder could not recreate the magic he showed at Charlton, and arrowed a shot over the top.

A clever quick free-kick from Morley then gave Charles a chance 12 minutes before the end. Once again, Taylor got in the way.

You had to wonder whether Bolton were ever going to break through as they patiently moved the ball around, looking for space. But then, with a welcome injection of pace, Dempsey dropped his shoulder shifted the ball on to his right foot and drilled a shot into the bottom corner.

After all the timewasting that can gone on before, it was somewhat ironic that Conor Bradley was punished so quickly by referee Singh Gill, moments after the goal. The Northern Ireland international has now picked up 10 bookings and will miss the next two games.

Having established the lead, Bolton then suddenly looked unsure of themselves. James Trafford got caught off his line by Alfie May, whose shot was then turned off the line by Toal.

Trafford was then called upon to make a vital save from Liam Sercombe in the closing minutes.

Bolton held on, though, and claimed yet another home clean sheet, extending the club record to eight consecutive home games.