Derby 3-0 Bolton: Rams boost play-off prospects
Last Updated: 07/04/18 7:20pm
Derby clinched their first win at home since February 3 as they maintained their Sky Bet Championship play-off challenge by brushing aside struggling Bolton 3-0 at Pride Park Stadium.
The Rams were winless in four on their own patch but the result never looked in doubt from the moment Alex Pearce headed home in the sixth minute for his first goal of the season.
Matej Vydra struck just after the half-hour mark before Tom Lawrence made sure there was no way back for Wanderers with a fine finish nine minutes after half-time.
Bolton, who only tested Scott Carson when the game had gone, drop a place to 21st in the second tier and are only two points above the relegation zone after Barnsley overcame Sheffield United in the lunchtime kick-off.
Bolton, whose last visit to Derby ended in a 4-1 defeat which confirmed their relegation to League One, found themselves immediately under pressure.
Reece Burke's clearance was charged down by David Nugent and Vydra went through on the right before setting up Nugent, whose scuffed shot hit Bolton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick.
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It was a big miss but more poor Bolton defending a minute later resulted in a corner which the unmarked Pearce headed into the bottom left corner from eight yards.
That left Bolton with a massive task to try and get something from the afternoon because they had not scored more than once in a game since late December and there were few signs they were going to break that run.
Despite some decent possession, they did not look capable of hurting Derby and they slid deeper into trouble in the 33rd minute when the home side scored again.
Bolton were opened up too easily by Andreas Weimann's measured pass which sent Nugent through and although his shot was parried by Alnwick, Vydra was left with an easy tap-in for his 19th Championship goal of the season.
The visitors had played with a lack of intensity in the first half so it was no surprise that manager Phil Parkinson made two changes for the second by taking off Aaron Wilbraham and Burke, with Sammy Ameobi and Craig Noone introduced.
But any hope of a Bolton recovery was extinguished in the 54th minute when Lawrence pounced on a loose ball and was allowed to stride forward unchallenged before driving a low shot from 20 yards into the bottom right corner.
Ironic cheers from the Bolton fans greeted Josh Vela's wayward 25-yard shot in the 58th minute, which was their first effort on goal, but Ameobi went close five minutes later when he rattled Carson's right post from 10 yards.
Carson twice denied Mark Beevers in the space of a minute and Curtis Davies cleared a deflected shot off the line but it was too little, too late from Bolton.
Gary Rowett: "Coming up with the header underlines [Pearce's] last two performances. He's got real desire and wanted to get his head on things in both boxes. I'm really pleased because that started the ball rolling a little. Sometimes when you haven't had an opportunity it's about your mentality when you're not in the side.
"His mentality every day has been superb. The lads come in at half nine every morning but he comes in at half eight and goes on the bike for half an hour in the gym just to make sure he's ready. We spoke to him a few times this season and said, 'Look, you don't know when your chance is going to come but all you can do is make sure you are ready for it'."
Phil Parkinson: "We kept going. Give the lads credit for that because it's difficult when you are two-nil down at half-time, but we stuck at it. But I was disappointed with the goals we conceded, particularly the first one.
"We've got to find a way to make sure the fundamentals are in place to give ourselves a chance of winning and I feel in the last three games we've gone away from that."
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