Burton 2-0 Bolton: Brewers boost hopes in relegation battle
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 28/04/18 7:33pm
First-half goals from Hope Akpan and Lucas Akins gave Burton hope of avoiding relegation from the Sky Bet Championship and dragged Bolton deep into trouble at the foot of the table.
Albion had never before won three Championship games in a row but they rarely looked in any serious danger after Akpan's first of the season and Akins' predatory finish put them in control.
And Burton held on to win 2-0 and move up to 22nd, level on points with Barnsley in 21st. Bolton, meanwhile, drop to 23rd.
After his side had been on the back foot in the early stages of the game, it was Akpan who chose the perfect moment to bag his first goal in a Burton shirt on 28 minutes.
The excellent hold-up play of Liam Boyce created the chance as he brought the ball under control inside the box, allowing Akpan to run beyond him and smash a rising shot into the top corner.
It was a blow to the visitors, who had been the better side with Adam Le Fondre sending a dipping volley over the bar and Darren Pratley only beaten to a Karl Henry cross by a timely intervention from Jacob Davenport deep inside his own six-yard box.
Akpan also had a hand in Albion's second goal on 36 minutes as Nigel Clough's men pressed home their advantage.
The former Blackburn midfielder had two bites of the cherry as he looked to double his tally but his second effort fell kindly for Akins, who was able to prod the ball past Ben Alnwick to give the Brewers daylight against their struggling visitors.
Former Bolton striker Marvin Sordell almost rubbed salt into the Trotters' wounds on the stroke of half-time with a rising drive that just missed the target after more good approach play from Boyce.
Bolton had to change things around and the introduction of Filipe Morais and Will Buckley injected some life into the Trotters, with Buckley's early opportunity deflected for a corner and Morais whipping a dangerous free-kick wide of the post just after the hour mark.
However, after finding themselves on the ropes in the second half exchanges, it was Boyce who went close to wrapping things up for Albion, Alnwick producing an excellent save to deny him from a tight angle.
The Bolton keeper also kept his side in the game with a fine save from Sordell who was played in by Luke Murphy and the on-loan Leeds midfielder also squandered a glorious chance to make it three after Boyce led a swift counter-attack.
Alnwick produced more heroics to deny Boyce with a superb one-handed save late on but it came too late to prevent Bolton from being dragged right into the relegation mire.
Nigel Clough: "That was good a performance as we have had at home. Other games we didn't quite get the breaks in but today we scored two very good, but different, goals.
"Then we defended as we had to defend today. We have given ourselves a chance and we know what we need to do next week now. We can't afford to lose now or else we are down. We have to go with the same sort of attitude that we showed today."
Phil Parkinson: "I thought we started OK. It was pretty even up to the goal but the two goals are soft and Burton grew 10 foot tall after that. They were first to every ball. They were more physical than us and they did all the horrible things in football better than us and the goals knocked the stuffing out of us.
"I am hugely disappointed with the performance today and I feel for our fans coming down in their numbers because that performance wasn't good enough. The supporters are hurting but it is hurting me as well. We went down with a whimper today and I have always defended the lads as much as possible but there wasn't enough out there today to get us back into the game."