Derby County 4-1 Bolton Wanderers

Johnny Russell

Johnny Russell fires Derby ahead from long range

Bolton Wanderers’ relegation to League One was confirmed by a heavy defeat at promotion-chasing Derby County.

Johnny Russell’s 30-yard effort put the Rams ahead, before Tom Ince’s volley doubled the lead before half-time.

Jacob Butterfield’s deflected shot and Russell’s close-range finish, either side of Zach Clough’s consolation from the penalty spot, made sure of the win.

Bolton, without an away victory this season, have not played in the third tier of English football since 1992-93.

They looked bereft of confidence, having been in the Championship relegation zone since the start of October, and could have easily been six or seven goals down by the break.

In a campaign featuring only one win before Christmas, Wanderers had a brief upturn in results in January and February, but are now without victory in 11 matches.

Will Hughes Derby<!–

Derby midfielder Will Hughes made his return from a knee injury suffered on the opening day of the season at Bolton

Derby, on the back of Tuesday’s 4-0 win against play-off rivals Hull, were at their fluent best as Ince, Cyrus Christie and Craig Bryson all had chances to put the game beyond Bolton’s reach in the first half.

Clough’s spot-kick – after Mark Davies was fouled by George Thorne – prevented the Rams from winning a fifth straight home game without conceding a goal, a feat unequalled by Derby since 1925.

But it made no difference to the result – Bolton’s 23rd league defeat of the season – as the hosts moved up to fourth in the table.

Bolton’s season of turmoil

Asides from the problems on the pitch, Bolton’s relegation caps a tumultuous season behind the scenes, including staff wages being withheld, a winding-up petition issued and a takeover completed.

Manager Neil Lennon left the Macron Stadium by mutual consent last month, with academy boss Jimmy Phillips put in temporary charge.

Neil Lennon<!–

Former Celtic boss Lennon left Bolton Wanderers on 15 March

They were also £172.9m in debt, but it is believed the majority has been written off by former owner Eddie Davies.

Bolton’s slide into the third tier comes just over a decade after they finished sixth in the Premier League and qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history.

They now need one point from their remaining five games left to avoid the ignominy of equalling the lowest-ever points total in the Championship, Blackpool’s 26 last season.

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