2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Hope Akpan (28')
  • Lucas Akins (36')

Burton secure vital victory over fellow relegation-battlers Bolton

First-half goals from Hope Akpan and Lucas Akins gave Burton hope of avoiding relegation from the Sky Bet Championship and dragged Bolton deep into the trouble at the foot of the table.
Albion had never before won three games in a row in the Championship but they rarely looked in any serious danger after Akpan's first of the season and Akins' predatory finish put them in control.
And Burton held on to win 2-0 and move up to 22nd, level on points with Barnsley in 21st. Bolton, meanwhile, drop to 23rd.
After being on the back foot for much of the early stages of the game it was Akpan who chose the perfect moment to bag his first goal in a Burton shirt on 28 minutes.
The excellent hold-up play of Liam Boyce created the chance as he brought the ball under control inside the box, allowing Akpan to run beyond him and smash a rising shot into the top corner.
It was a blow to the visitors, who had been the better side with Adam Le Fondre sending a dipping volley over the bar and Darren Pratley only beaten to a Karl Henry cross by a timely intervention from Jacob Davenport deep inside his own six-yard box.
Akpan also had a hand in Albion's second goal on 36 minutes as Nigel Clough's men pressed home their advantage.
The former Blackburn midfielder had two bites of the cherry as he looked to double his tally for the afternoon but his second effort fell kindly for Akins who was able to prod the ball past Ben Alnwick to give the Brewers daylight against their struggling visitors.
Former Bolton striker Marvin Sordell almost rubbed salt into the Trotters wounds on the stroke of half-time with a rising drive that just missed the target after more good approach play from Boyce.
Bolton had to change things around and the introduction of Filipe Morais and Will Buckley injected some life into the Trotters, with Buckley seeing an early opportunity deflected for a corner and Morais whipping a dangerous free-kick just wide of the post just after the hour mark.
However, after finding themselves on the ropes in the second half exchanges, it was Boyce who went close to wrapping things up for Albion, Alnwick producing an excellent save to deny him from a tight angle.
The Bolton keeper also kept his side in the game with a fine save from Sordell who was played in by Luke Murphy and the on-loan Leeds midfielder also squandered a glorious chance to make it three after Boyce led a swift counter-attack with Bolton caught pushing forwards.
Alnwick produced more heroics to deny Boyce with a superb one-handed save late on but it came too late to prevent Bolton from being dragged right into the relegation mire.

English League Championship Standings

1 Sheffield United 10 +14 23
2 Norwich City 10 +7 20
3 Reading 10 -4 18
4 Burnley 10 +7 17
5 Luton Town 11 +3 16
6 Sunderland 10 +5 15
7 Queens Park Rangers 10 +3 15
8 Blackburn Rovers 10 -2 15
9 Rotherham United 9 +6 14
10 Bristol City 10 +3 14
11 Watford 10 0 14
12 Wigan Athletic 9 -2 13
13 Millwall 10 -3 13
14 Stoke City 10 0 12
15 Preston North End 10 -1 12
16 Swansea City 10 -2 12
17 Birmingham City 10 -2 12
18 Cardiff City 10 -4 11
19 Blackpool 10 -5 11
20 Hull City 11 -12 11
21 West Bromwich Albion 10 +1 10
22 Middlesbrough 10 -2 10
23 Huddersfield Town 9 -4 7
24 Coventry City 7 -6 3