Bolton Wanderers missed the chance to go seven points clear of the relegation places, after losing 3-1 at home to local rivals Preston North End.
Going into the game, Phil Parkinson made a couple of changes to the side that claimed a 0-0 draw at Norwich City last Saturday. Reece Burke and Adam Le Fondre were dropped to the bench, with Josh Vela and Tyler Walker taking their places in the starting XI. Vela, a surprise inclusion, had returned back from injury much earlier than expected.
Wanderers got off to the best of starts twelve minutes into the game. Mark Beevers was on hand to score from a corner after David Wheater’s initial effort had been blocked. It was the centre half’s first goal of the season, one which looked like giving Wanderers a vital win in the fight to stay in The Championship.
Bolton, despite being on the backfoot for the remainder of the half, held on to go into the half time break in the lead.
Sadly, Preston’s dominance proved to be too much for Wanderers in the second half.
Less than ten minutes into the second half, Preston were level. With Bolton’s defenders guilty of being out of position, Tom Barkhuizen latched onto Callum Robinson’s pass, and was given too much time and space to fire past Ben Alnwick.
In an effort to prevent Preston’s domination, Phil Parkinson changed formations from a 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1, with Dorian Dervite moving to right back and Filipe Morais moving out to the left wing.
The introductions of Adam Le Fondre and debutant Jan Kirchhoff couldn’t swing the game in Bolton’s favour, and with fifteen minutes to go, Preston were ahead.
Substitute Sean Maguire, making his first appearance since November after recovering from a hamstring injury, buried the ball into the goal from close range. Again, Callum Robinson was the provider, after getting the better of Dervite on the left wing.
Wanderers tried to get back into the game, with Josh Vela forcing a save out of Declan Rudd late on.
However, the idea of a comeback was dead and buried in stoppage time. Sean Maguire scored again from close range to ensure Preston fans went home happy on their Gentry Day.
Preston move to within three points of the Play-Offs, whilst Wanderers remain four points clear of the relegation places.
Next up for Bolton is a trip to The Madejski Stadium to face the struggling Reading Fc.