Sky Bet Championship: Zach Clough nets winner as Bolton down Brighton
Last Updated: 01/03/15 5:02pm
Zach Clough ensured Bolton returned to winning ways in the Sky Bet Championship with his sixth goal of the season as they defeated Brighton 1-0.
The 19-year-old striker only made his senior debut against Wigan in the FA Cup at the start of January and in those two months, Clough has become Wanderers' leading scorer, overshadowing the exploits of big-name signings Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
Bolton's win and Brighton's first defeat in five games lifted the Lancastrians up to 17th in the table and above their Sussex visitors.
Clough slotted home after 64 minutes when Brighton were threatening to get on top with Bolton indebted to on-loan keeper Ben Amos.
Chris Hughton's side certainly looked the most confident team and should have taken the lead in the first five minutes. Sam Baldock escaped his markers at the far post but his close-range effort was superbly turned aside by Amos.
The on-loan United keeper was handed a home debut in the continued absences of injured first-choices Andy Lonergan and Adam Bogdan.
But his early intervention apart, Amos had little else to trouble him during the rest of the half. Brighton had plenty of possession with Joao Teixeira and Craig Mackail-Smith always prominent, but they did all their best work outside the area.
Wanderers had started brightly with Adam Le Fondre and Neil Danns going close but quickly faded. It said everything for the home team that Tim Ream - a player who has never scored in more than 100 games for Wanderers - came closest for the home side.
Forced inside on his weaker right foot, the former New York Red Bulls defender unleashed a drive from 18 yards that almost caught David Stockdale unawares.
Heskey livened up proceedings with a sliding tackle on Lewis Dunk that earned the 37-year-old former England striker a caution from referee Dean Whitestone.
Heskey was still protesting his innocence when the teams came out for the second half which was decidedly more easy on the eye than the opening 45 minutes.
Amos continued to keep Brighton at bay as Baldock looked to make a breakthrough with a low shot at the back post.
Amos then came racing off his line to block a shot from Mackail-Smith, getting the ball and team mate Liam Feeney at the same time.
Feeney needed treatment before being able to briefly continue and the stoppage appeared to upset the visitors' concentration as Wanderers broke upfield and snatched the winning goal.
Josh Vela, moved into midfield from full-back at half-time, threaded the ball through and Clough finished with a low angled drive from 12 yards.
Brighton threw plenty of men forward in the final 20 minutes and Bolton plenty of bodies at the ball, but Lennon's side held on to their narrow lead.