Bolton Wanderers made light work of promotion-chasing Plymouth Argyle in the EFL Trophy final on Sunday afternoon at Wembley, in front of a crowd of nearly 80,000. Over 38,000 of those were Argyle fans, hoping to witness their first ever Cup Final at the National Stadium end in glory but they were humbled and silenced as a rampant Bolton side ran out 4-0 winners.
BWFC: Trafford; Toal, Ricardo, Jones; John, Sheehan, Morley, Bradley; Dempsey; Kachunga, Charles
PAFC: Burton; Gillesphey, Scarr, Wilson; Mumba, Matete, Houghton, Edwards; Mayor, Wright; Hardie
Kyle Dempsey was the Tormenter-in-Chief for Ian Evatt’s men, heading his side in front after just four minutes before turning provider for Dion Charles before ten minutes were on the clock. Argyle were stunned and could have been four down before the break, as Dempsey spurned two magnificent chances in the first half an hour – but in truth it barely mattered as Argyle failed to land a glove on the Bolton back line.
A Ryan Hardie chance midway through the first half was all that a toothless Argyle could muster in the first half as Wanderers continued to lay siege on the Plymouth defence. Further goals for Elias Kachunga just minutes after the break and a rare goal for Gethin Jones from right back completed the rout on a near perfect afternoon for the Trotters, winning their second EFL trophy.
Fans of the Lancashire side will be hoping this is the first of two Wembley triumphs come May – with a play-off spot looking likely for Bolton, while Argyle will hope this disastrous display doesn’t derail their automatic promotion chances.
Kyle Dempsey was instrumental, showing that on his day he is a real talent as his deft header opened the scoring before he calmly rolled the ball to the prolific Dion Charles to double the lead. Matt Butcher and Sam Cosgrove, who has often pulled Argyle from the mud from the bench this season, came on at half-time but it was the former’s diabolical pass that played in Elias Kachunga for a game-ending third.
Jones’ header on the hour mark was the salt in the Argyle wounds, but Steven Schumacher will be keen not to let this nightmare of a ninety minutes detract from what has been a special season in Devon.
It was the icing on the cake of Bolton’s second EFL Trophy success, and their first since 1989 as they look towards kicking on to securing a play-off spot in League One. The consolation for Argyle was that their main challengers for the title, Sheffield Wednesday, slipped up at home to Lincoln in the league – dropping two more points in a stuttering stage for the Owls. Argyle are level on points, but with a game in hand.
Bolton sit in fifth; an automatic berth almost impossible but this cup success may well provide the boost they need to pip their rivals to the post in the top six.