Filipe Morais celebrates

League One: Assist king Filipe Morais turns goal king to help Bolton back into the top two

BOLTON’s assist king turned goal king over the last week to help Wanderers climb back into League One’s automatic promotion places.

Filipe Morais has started all 11 games since joining from promotion rivals Bradford at the start of February and, heading into last Saturday’s home match against Northampton, had made 9 of Bolton’s previous 10 goals.

That has earned the Portuguese midfielder a few new nicknames, such as ‘the postman’ and ‘FedEx’ (hence the picture below) – because he always delivers – yet the 31-year-old got his own name on the scoresheet last Saturday.

Northampton took a surprise lead early in the 2nd half but Wanderers made a superb response, levelling through an Adam Le Fondre penalty. And with 8 minutes left, Andrew Taylor had room to cross from the left for Morais to fire home and give Bolton a 2-1 victory.

Filipe Morais as a FedEx driver
Filipe Morais as a FedEx driver

That made it 3 straight wins for the Trotters – after winning 4-2 at Fleetwood and 4-0 at Gillingham – and with Fleetwood held to a 0-0 draw at home to AFC Wimbledon, it sent Wanderers back into the top 2.

Phil Parkinson’s men then played their game in hand at Oxford on Tuesday night and Morais struck again, volleying them into a 4th-minute lead after Gary Madine’s header was saved. Morais nearly had another 19 minutes later but the keeper tipped his free-kick onto the bar and centre-half Mark Beevers followed up for his 3rd goal in 4 games.

Oxford pulled one back just before the break but an own goal and a late strike by Josh Vela saw Bolton win 4-2. Remarkably it’s the 1st time in the club’s 143-year history that they’ve scored 4 goals in 3 straight successive away games. That’s one for the record books, but in terms of their immediate concerns, it moved Wanderers within 6 points of leaders Sheffield United.

The Trotters now visit Shrewsbury on Saturday and with the hosts 5th-bottom, who’s to say Bolton won’t make it 5 straight wins – and bang in another 4 goals on the road!

ROCHDALE claimed their 1st win in 12 in style on Saturday, beating Gillingham 4-1 and dedicating the victory to midfielder Joe Thompson, who last week revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer for a 2nd time.

And although they went 2-0 down at home to Millwall on Tuesday night, they fought back to lead 3-2 with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Ian Henderson and Callum Camps again the goalscorers. Millwall equalised on 77 minutes to claim a 3-3 draw but Dale would probably have settled for that beforehand – they certainly would have at 2-0 down – as the Lions are level with Southend, who occupy the final play-off spot.

Dale are 6 points behind them in 10th and now have 2 away games in 4 days – at 2nd-bottom Chesterfield and mid-table Wimbledon.

BURY and OLDHAM edged closer to safety on Saturday as the Shakers drew 0-0 at Millwall while Lee Erwin’s 4th goal in 4 games earned Oldham a 1-1 draw at Peterborough.

And both could do Bolton a favour this Saturday as Bury, who are now 4 points above the drop zone, host Fleetwood while Latics, who have 3 points’ breathing space, welcome Sheffield United.

The Blades then host Millwall in 1 of only 3 League One fixtures on Tuesday night. I’ve already mentioned Dale’s trip to Wimbledon but the other game sees Bury visit Oxford.

League One fixtures – Saturday: Shrewsbury v BOLTON, Chesterfield v ROCHDALE, BURY v Fleetwood, OLDHAM v Sheffield United. Tuesday: AFC Wimbledon v ROCHDALE, Oxford v BURY.