Bolton 0-2 Aston Villa: Wanderers relegated from Championship as Villa equal club record

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Bolton 0-2 Aston Villa: Wanderers relegated from Championship as Villa equal club record
Villa captain Jack Grealish returned from injury to claim his sixth goal of the season

Bolton have been relegated from the Championship following a home defeat by Aston Villa.

Second-half goals by Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham gave Villa a club record-equalling ninth straight win and sent Bolton into League One.

Wanderers are set to be sold to former Watford owner Laurence Bassini after a season of financial woes.

But they will begin next season in the third tier after a 14th defeat in 18 games.

Bolton, who are 11 points behind fourth-bottom Millwall, are the second team to be relegated from the Championship after Ipswich.

They are heading to League One for the second time in the seven years since they fell out of the Premier League.

Speaking after the match, Trotters boss Phil Parkinson challenged his side to “come back stronger”.

The latest defeat was their fourth in a row with players still awaiting their March wages as Bassini waits to complete the takeover from current owner Ken Anderson.

Villa had the early chances with Anwar El Ghazi firing wide from a Grealish cross before John McGinn had an effort cleared off the line by Harry Brockbank.

Bolton then lost both captain David Wheater and veteran midfielder Gary O’Neil to injury before half-time.

Villa claimed the lead just two minutes into the second half when Abraham crossed to the far post for Grealish to head home.

Ten minutes later Grealish returned the favour, collecting a pass by McGinn and setting up Abraham to head home and become the first Villa player to score 25 league goals in a season since Andy Gray in 1976-77.

Ahead of Monday’s home game with Millwall, victory also equalled Villa’s club record of nine successive wins, set in 1910.

It leaves them in fifth, four points behind West Bromwich Albion and six points clear of seventh place in the race for play-off spots.

To compound Bolton’s misery, they set a new club record of 27 league defeats in a season.

Phil Parkinson’s Bolton have won just four times in 2019

A year of misery for the Trotters

Since keeping their Championship status after beating Nottingham Forest on the final day of last season, things have not been easy on or off the pitch for Wanderers.

Players went on strike during pre-season over unpaid wages and bonuses, while in September the club avoided administration after receiving a £5m loan from former owner Eddie Davies a few days before his death to pay off outstanding debt.

The Professional Footballers’ Association stepped in to help pay for November and December’s wages, while the players have called for the PFA’s assistance again as February’s salaries were paid late and March wages are still to be paid, three weeks after they were due.

They also held a 48-hour strike earlier this month on behalf of non-playing staff in a protest over unpaid wages, while home games against Ipswich and Middlesbrough were almost postponed because of safety concerns.

After Bolton were handed a registration embargo in January, owner Anderson became embroiled in a spat with Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince over the collapsed transfer of striker Christian Doidge.

Fans went on to hold a protest against Anderson and his running of the club before and during their home defeat by West Bromwich Albion in January while a consortium attempting to take over the club, backed by Parminder Basran and Sharon Brittan, collapsed in March.

In addition, the club has twice appeared in the High Court after being issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs and are due to appear again on 8 May having been granted an adjournment.

It was announced on Wednesday that Bassini had agreed a deal buy the club. However, their result against Villa ensured the club’s two-season stay in the Championship ended.

Bolton Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson:

“The club now has to regroup, bounce back with a new owner which I think is great news for the club.

“This is a tremendous football club that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons too many times.

“From here on in Bolton has got to start building back its credibility in the football world and improving its image.”

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith:

“No living person will have seen the last run [Villa’s joint club record nine straight wins, from October to December 1910] so I am proud of the players.

“Now we have to go all out and try and break the record against Millwall on Monday. We are very motivated to keep the run going. You could see that from the players.

“We have three regular league games to go so hopefully we can have a winning end to the season.”

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