Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

  • December 31, 2011 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/83600

Bolton will end 2011 at the bottom of the Premier League after drawing 1-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Sam Ricketts marked his first appearance since February with a superb opening goal midway through the first half and Wanderers took their lead into the break.

However, Wolves began the second half brightly and pulled themselves level just four minutes after the restart courtesy of a free header from Steven Fletcher.

Both sides continued to press forward in search of a winning goal but ultimately had to settle for a point, marking Bolton's first league draw in ten months.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle made two changes from the side which lost to Newcastle United on Boxing Day, with Ricketts and Gretar Steinsson taking the places of Paul Robinson and Dedryck Boyata. Gary Cahill captained the side in what could prove to be his final appearance for the club.

The hosts started well, with David Ngog and Ivan Klasnic both seeing early strikes blocked by the Wolves backline, who were looking tough to beat.

Stephen Hunt fired a dangerous ball across the face of the Bolton goal with ten minutes on the clock, but Zat Knight was alive to the danger and cleared the ball to safety from inside his own six yard box.

At the other end, Cahill saw a strike blocked from a corner moments later, before Ngog shot tamely at Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal.

The visitors registered their first shot on target on 17 minutes, with Fletcher bringing a smart save out of Jussi Jaaskelainen with a long range effort.

Then, midway through the half, Bolton broke the deadlock through the most unlikely of goalscorers. Ricketts picked up possession on the left flank, before cutting inside the full back and curling a delightful right-footed strike into the top corner of Hennessey's goal.

This was Ricketts' first appearance since rupturing an Achilles tendon in an FA Cup tie at Wigan Athletic last February and he marked his return to action in style.

Bolton pressed forward for a second and Martin Petrov shot straight at Hennessey moments later, before Jaaskelainen was lucky to escape at the other end after fumbling a header from Hunt.

Petrov came close to doubling Bolton's advantage on the half hour. After receiving a superb pass from Ngog, the bouncing ball sat up perfectly for the Bulgarian who volleyed narrowly wide of the target from 25 yards.

From the next attack, Mark Davies, formerly of Wolves, picked up the run of Nigel Reo-Coker. He found Ngog, only for the former Liverpool forward to drag his shot wide of the target.

Wolves hit back immediately and almost drew level as Bolton failed to deal with a Hunt free-kick. The loose ball landed at the feet of Stephen Ward, who smashed a 25 yard strike off the Bolton crossbar.

There was time for one more chance before the break and it came the way of Bolton. Petrov's smart run down the left flank resulted in a cross for Klasnic, whose fierce volley stung the palms of Hennessey.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy made a change at the break, with Dave Edwards coming on for George Elokobi and his half-time team talk worked wonders as they equalised just four minutes after the restart.

After successfully defending a free-kick, Bolton conceded another in dangerous territory. Matthew Jarvis' cross from the left found an unmarked Fletcher in the middle, who successfully headed past Jaaskelainen from close range.

Bolton reacted positively to the setback and came close to retaking the lead on 55 minutes when Fabrice Muamba's volley from the edge of the box brought a superb low save out of Hennessey.

The hosts were on top but struggled to find a way past a stubborn Wolves defence, as they were restricted to a couple of stabbed attempts from Mark Davies.

After keeping Bolton out for the majority of the afternoon, confusion in the Wolves defence almost resulted in Christophe Berra putting the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Berra failed to deal with a Petrov cross and with Ngog lurking in the middle, Berra collided with Hennessey and was fortunate to see the ball land just wide of the post.

From the resulting corner, Steinsson rose highest to direct the ball goalwards, only to be thwarted by a full stretch stop from Hennessey.

Kevin Doyle, who had earlier replaced Fletcher, came close to putting the visitors ahead on 81 minutes when his header from a Hunt cross was unknowingly blocked by the leg of Jaaskelainen.

They came even closer to winning the game with five minutes to go as Jarvis' delivery flicked off Tuncay's head before being cleared off the line by former Wolves midfielder Mark Davies.

Confusion between Knight and Jaaskelainen brought an argument to events in the closing stages and the Bolton goalkeeper earned his side a point in the closing stages as he got a hand to the ball, with Doyle looking to take it around him when presented with a one-on-one opportunity, ensuring the game ended 1-1.

Bolton began 2011 in sixth place in the Premier League, but end the year propping up the table following a nightmare first half of the 2011/12 campaign. They begin 2012 with a trip to Everton on Wednesday night.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, M Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Petrov, Ngog (K Davies 88), Klasnic (Tuncay 77)
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Robinson, Eagles, Wheater, O'Halloran
Goals: Ricketts 22

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Elokobi (Edwards 46), Hunt (Foley 81), Henry, Ward, Jarvis, Fletcher (Doyle 68), Ebanks-Blake
Subs Not Used: de Vries, Hammill, Doherty, Guedioura
Goals: Fletcher 49

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 20,354

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>

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