Match Reports

Report | Hatters fight back to book fourth round spot


Bolton 1Charles 10

Town 2Chong 14Ogbene 57

Just like the first game, the Town were taking this tie seriously – the line-up named by Rob Edwards showed an intent to win the game – and that’s exactly what his side did, earning a fourth round tie at either Crystal Palace or Everton a week on Saturday.

However, after ten minutes, that seemed some way away. The Trotters, riding high in League One, took the early initiative when strikers Victor Adeboyejo and Dion Charles combined for the latter to steer home from close range.

The opener warmed the hearts of the majority of 10,000 fans who braved the icy conditions but the Hatters quickly poured cold water on the hosts’ electric start. Ross Barkley broke up play; the ball breaking to Chiedozie Ogbene and then Jordan Clark, the midfielder teeing up Tahith Chong whose fine footwork opened half-a-yard of space for him to steer an angled left-foot shot home for 1-1.

Back in the game so quickly was important – a fact not lost on Edwards afterwards – and as the first half wore on the Town grew in stature and created numerous opportunities to take the lead. However, for all their patience on the ball, those were only half-chances and Bolton were relieved to get in at the break level.

Three minutes after the restart the Town came close to getting their noses in front twice in the space of a matter of seconds when substitute Ryan Giles’ cross caused confusion in the Bolton box and Clark’s shot came back off the post. The ball then found its way to Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu whose drive was blocked by the home defence.

Despite that frustration, the Town didn’t wait long for that elusive second goal when, on 57 minutes, the comeback was complete. Carlton Morris, the late hero at Burnley on Friday, was the creator, spinning down the left to cross for Ogbene to fire home from close range to give the Hatters the lead in the tie for the first time.

Ahead, the Hatters dug in to see off Bolton’s hunt for an equaliser to take the tie to extra time. With 16 minutes left it looked as though the Trotters had levelled when Charles turned home from inside the six-yard box only for a very, very late offside flag to frustrate the hosts and 2-1 it stayed.

The Hatters made changes in as time ticked down but that disallowed goal knocked the stuffing out of the Trotters and the Hatters comfortably saw out the final moments. Job done and a place in the fourth round in the bag.

Town: Krul; Ogbene, Doughty (sub Giles 46); Mengi (sub Bell 46), Osho, Burke (sub Brown 75); Mpanzu, Barkley, Chong (sub Townsend 74), Clark (sub Adebayo 81); Morris.

Subs not used: Kaminski, Potts, Berry, Woodrow.

Attendance: 10,878, including 751 braving the elements in the away end shouting for the Hatters.

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