Bruce remains unbeaten as he ends Bolton hoodoo
Steve Bruce’s unbeaten start as Sheffield Wednesday manager extended to nine games as goals from Steven Fletcher and Rolando Aarons gave the visitors a 2-0 win over relegation-haunted Bolton.
Scotland international Fletcher grabbed his ninth league goal of the season after 43 minutes and Aarons’ first goal for the club on the hour got Wednesday back to winning ways after two draws and keeps them on course for the play-offs.
By contrast, Phil Parkinson’s side produced a flat performance after last Saturday’s morale-boosting 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Millwall.
Not even the lift of finally getting paid their February wages from controversial chairman Ken Anderson and the imminent news of a takeover could lift Wanderers.
The visitors’ win helped them complete a league double over the Trotters for the first time since the 1982/83 season.
And for manager Bruce, he was able to celebrate a win at the University of Bolton Stadium after three defeats – including last season’s promotion setback for Aston Villa.
Wednesday had the game’s first shot on target as Fletcher tried his luck from 18 yards but goalkeeper Remi Matthews saved comfortably.
A gale-force wind swirling around the ground meant both sides struggled to put together any fluency, but Wednesday managed another effort on the half hour.
Former Bolton midfielder Barry Bannan curled in a free-kick and Fletcher got his head to the ball but could only direct it straight into the arms of Matthews.
The lively Aarons unleashed a pot-shot from 22 yards that flashed wide before Fletcher made it third time lucky.
Bannan played in a quality ball behind the Bolton defensive line, centre-half Mark Beevers was caught napping and Fletcher nipped in to slide a low shot past the keeper.
Wednesday started the second half brightly and defender Michael Hector should have done better with a snap-shot.
They continued to press for a second goal and brought on a more mobile attacking option, with Sam Winnall replacing Atdhe Nuhiu after 56 minutes.
Within four minutes the Owls struck again. Adam Reach laid the ball into the path of Aarons bursting into the penalty area and the on-loan Newcastle midfielder unleashed a rasping left-foot shot high into the net.
Winnall blocked a Craig Noone shot as Wanderers laboured to find a way back into the contest, before Noone and veteran Gary O’Neil made way for Clayton Donaldson and Will Buckley.
But it was Wednesday who finished the game strongly and Matthews did well to prevent substitute Winnall getting on the scoresheet.