‘All the way to penalties’ – Bolton Wanderers vs Oxford United prediction: The72

Bolton Wanderers and Oxford United go head to head at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the League One play-off final.

Bolton Wanderers and Oxford United face off for a place alongside fellow promotion winners Portsmouth and Derby County in the Championship.

Ian Evatt’s side booked their place at Wembley after defeating Barnsley in the semi-final by an aggregate score of 5-4. Ian Evatt’s side beat the Tykes 3-1 away from home, though lost 3-2 at the Toughsheet Community Stadium, doing just enough to see them head to the capital.

The Trotters were locked in the battle for automatic promotion for the majority of the regular season and only had their fate in the play-offs confirmed on the final day of the campaign.

Including their two legs against Barnsley, Bolton have conceded seven goals in their past three fixtures and will surely hope to leave their recent defensive record behind ahead of the final. Having said that, there should be no nerves in front of goal for Evatt’s men after scoring eight in that time.

Image courtesy of: PETER POWELL/REUTERS.

Oxford United were perhaps the side least fancied to reach Wembley from the play-off contenders, but Des Buckingham’s side put in two sturdy performances over Peterborough United to earn their spot in the third tier showdown.

They beat the Posh 1-0 in their home tie before securing a hard-fought 1-1 draw away from home. The U’s recorded a 2-1 victory on aggregate and must now face the task of beating Bolton Wanderers for the first time this season if they are to be a Championship outfit next term.

Oxford lost 5-0 the last time they faced the Trotters and drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture. Yet to score against Evatt’s side this campaign, Saturday would be the perfect time to do it.

Here, a handful of our writers make their predictions for the game…

Jacob Hackett

“Form often goes out of the window in the play-offs, and for the sake of Oxford United that could come in handy considering they have only won one of their last eight meetings against their opponents.

Bolton Wanderers will need to tighten up their defence if they are to have a comfortable afternoon this weekend, though the word ‘comfortable’ is not really associated with any play-off final.

“Buckingham’s men are the clear underdogs here, and as much as I love an underdog story I am struggling to envisage the U’s pipping the Trotters to promotion.

“I am expecting a well-fought encounter, but I think it will be Evatt’s men that clinch victory at Wembley this weekend.”

Bolton Wanderers vs Oxford United prediction: 2-1

James Ray

“Many will fancy Bolton Wanderers to get the job done this weekend, but momentum is key in the play-offs and Oxford United gained plenty of steam over the final stages of the season.

“It has taken time for Buckingham to get that side ticking, but they’ve looked dangerous in recent months and will be hopeful of getting a result on the biggest of stages.

Bolton Wanderers, ‘All the way to penalties’ – Bolton Wanderers vs Oxford United prediction: The72
Image courtesy of: PAUL CHILDS/REUTERS.

“However, I can see a really closely-fought battle panning out, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up going all the way to penalties. At that point, it really is a lottery.

“I think I’m going to say Bolton get the job done from 12 yards in a seriously tense game.”

Bolton Wanderers vs Oxford United prediction: 1-1 AET (Bolton Wanderers win on penalties)

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