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The key takeaways from Wanderers' 1-0 win against Oxford

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Wanderers claimed another crucial three points on the road following a hard-fought 1-0 win against Oxford.

Dion Charles got the decisive goal, slotting home after Conor Bradley’s cut-back had been parried by Simon Eastwood.

The Whites were under pressure for spells of the second half but managed to keep the Oxford attack at bay.

20 up for Charles

The Northern Irish international has become the first Bolton player to score goal times in a single season since Michael Ricketts in 2001.

The goal was a typically ruthless finish, reacting quickest to the loose ball and giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Charles has proven his worth at this level since the start of the campaign, building on his promising form last term after joining from Accrington.

The forward will be keen to keep adding to his tally in the final run-in as Wanderers aim to maintain their place in the top six.

Trafford’s close call

The Manchester City loanee was arguably fortunate not to see red during the first half after bringing down Kyle Joseph on the edge of the box.

Perhaps the only thing that saved the goalkeeper was having MJ Williams covering behind him. Joseph’s touch also seemed to take him slightly away from goal.

Trafford made a couple of important saves after the break to deny Djavan Anderson and Cameron Branagan as the hosts piled on the pressure.

The youngster has now kept 20 clean sheets in the league this season – a total no other goalkeeper can better.

MJ slots into defence

With Luke Mbete joining Ricardo Santos and Eoin Toal on the injury list, Ian Evatt faced a dilemma at the back.

The Bolton boss could have switched to a back four but opted to keep his trusted system, with Williams dropping into the backline.

He was trusted in the middle of the back three against the U's, with George Johnston returning to his natural role as a wide centre-back.

Williams could well continue to play in the backline in the coming weeks, with Mbete set to be out of action for four to six weeks with a knee issue.

Defensive steel

Wanderers again had to dig in and grind out the three points on the road – similar to their performance in the second half at Exeter.

Evatt can take plenty of encouragement from the resilience his side has shown over the last couple of away games in tough circumstances.

However, the concern now will be the physical and mental toll it has taken ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Burton.

It is set to be another tricky fixture, with causing an upset against Sheffield Wednesday at the Pirelli Stadium yesterday afternoon.

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