McGoldrick penalty keeps Town right in Play-Off contention
David McGoldrick’s 15th goal of the season keeps Town firmly in the Play-Off picture.
The Blues’ frontman rifled in a penalty early in the second-half after he had been fouled by ‘keeper Andy Lonergan to give Mick McCarthy’s side a second successive home win.
McGoldrick went close to adding a second with a right foot effort soon after he had broken the deadlock, with Blues rarely troubled after the goal as Town maintained a seventh place standing in the Championship table.
Frank Nouble returned to the starting line-up as Town went three up front, Stephen Hunt also coming in, with Paul Anderson dropping to the bench.
McGoldrick had the first opening of the game, firing over from the angle, Lukas Jutkiewicz responding for Bolton with a header a yard over the bar.
The visitors had a much better chance to open the scoring on 11 minutes, Tim Ream crossed from the left, Mark Davies took a swing at the ball, missed but it fell kindly for him again but he pulled his shot wide from 15 yards.
Lonergan plucked Nouble’s header out of the air from Luke Chambers’ cross, the Town striker then denied again by the Bolton ‘keeper after Hunt’s pass had split the Bolton defence.
The Wanderers’ keeper was in action again seconds later, tipping over a piledriver from Aaron Cresswell.
Town were forced into a change before the half hour when Cole Skuse was led off with a head injury, Anthony Wordsworth his replacement.
Dean Gerken produced a terrific save low down to deny Neil Danns after Davies’ pass had released the midfielder inside the Blues’ box.
Christophe Berra cleared from Jutkiewicz as Bolton enjoyed some possession around the Town area, Tommy Smith then poking the ball away from Danns as he looked to spin and shoot.
Berra picked up a yellow card for a foul on Darren Pratley, Jay Spearing sending his 25 yard free-kick well wide.
Jutkiewicz sent another long range effort wide of Gerken’s goal as Bolton finished the half on top.
Gerken saved from Alex Baptiste at his nearpost as the second-half got underway, Wordsworth sending a left foot effort over the bar from the edge of the box.
Wordsworth whipped in a cross that was cleared, then Hunt sent in a delivery from the left side, Lonergan spilt the ball and was then judged to have fouled McGoldrick, who smashed his penalty down the middle and into the back of the net to put Blues ahead on 54 minutes.
The summer signing from Nottingham Forest could have added a second soon after, dragging his shot wide of the far post.
Hunt almost found Nouble with a cross inside the Trotters’ box, before Bolton made a first change, Chris Eagles on for Pratley.
Lonergan saved from Hunt as Town threatened to take a stranglehold on the game, Jay Tabb then seeing his left foot drive cannon off Wordsworth and over the bar.
Daryl Murphy forced a corner when his volley was deflected behind, Wordsworth almost getting on the end of the flag kick.
Bolton made a second change for the last 15 minutes, former Blue Liam Trotter on for his debut, replacing Danns.
Frazer Richardson replaced fellow substitute for the closing stages, the Middlesbrough loanee making his debut for Blues while Dougie Freedman played his last card with Chung-Yong Lee on for Medo.
Gerken saved from Eagles as Bolton searched for an equaliser that rarely looked like coming as Town continued to lead the Play-Off chasing pack.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Tabb, Skuse (Wordsworth 29, Richardson 78), Hunt, Nouble, McGoldrick, Murphy. Subs not used: Loach, Mings, Anderson, Edwards, Taylor. Booked: Berra.
Bolton: Lonergan, Knight, Baptiste, Ream, Mills, Spearing, Medo (Lee 79), Davies, Danns (Trotter 73), Pratley (Eagles 58), Jutkiewicz. Subs not used: Bogdan, White, Vela, Moritz.
Att: 15, 429