Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

  • December 26, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time under Dougie Freedman, after losing 1-0 to struggling Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day.

A first half header from former Stoke City forward Mamady Sidibe proved to be the difference between the two sides, on what was largely a disappointing affair at the Reebok Stadium.

Both sides had a number of half-chances throughout the course of the 90 minutes, but Sidibe's goal was a rare moment of brilliance in an otherwise poor encounter.

Wanderers made four changes to the side that lost 5-4 at Peterborough United on Saturday, with Tim Ream, Martin Petrov, David Ngog and Benik Afobe taking the places of Lee Chung-Yong, Jacob Butterfield, the suspended Kevin Davies and Stephen Warnock - who has returned to Aston Villa following a loan spell.

One of the fresh faces, Ngog, saw appeals for a penalty turned down with just three minutes on the clock. The former Liverpool forward got goalside of Reda Johnson before going down inside the Wednesday box, but referee Scott Mathieson signalled play on.

Ngog was involved again with 14 minutes on the clock, as he brought a smart stop out of Chris Kirkland in the Owls goal with a shot from a tight angle.

Wednesday's first chance of the game arrived two minutes later, but a 30-yard free-kick from Rhys McCabe flew harmlessly over the top of Adam Bogdan's crossbar.

The visitors took the lead from their next opportunity, however, as Lewis Buxton picked out the run of Sidibe. The former Stoke forward managed to find space between Ream and Zat Knight, before planting a header beyond a helpless Bogdan.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Bolton and Wednesday should have doubled their lead eight minutes before the break, but an unmarked Miguel Angel Llera headed wide from a corner.

The final moments of the first half saw Kieran Lee and Michail Antonio have harmless strikes at goal, while Ngog had a shot blocked at the other end - as the visitors took their one-goal advantage into the break.

Both sides came out unchanged for the start of the second period and there was goalmouth action at each end inside the opening 10 minutes after the restart.

First, Wanderers were forced to scramble a dangerous looking corner away after Tyrone Mears had nearly sliced the ball into his own net. Then, on 53 minutes, Benik Afobe raced away from Anthony Gardner and crossed for Ngog, who could only divert the ball wide of the target with his chest.

Chris Eagles tried a speculative effort shortly afterwards, but Kirkland made a comfortable stop from all of 30-yards.

Despite their newly found attacking momentum, Bolton remained vulnerable at the back and almost conceded a second on the hour, as Llera came within inches of doubling Wednesday's lead from a corner.

Bolton's biggest chance of the game arrived with little less than 20 minutes to go. Eagles' cross from the left picked out an unmarked Afobe, who headed the ball goalwards but failed to find a way past Kirkland, allowing Wednesday to scramble the ball to safety.

Marcos Alonso and Marvin Sordell were brought on for the final 15 minutes and it was Alonso who had Wanderers' next sight of goal, but his 25-yard free-kick deflected on through to Kirkland.

A half-chance saw Jeremy Helan fire high and wide of the target as the game entered stoppage time and aside from an Ngog header in stoppage time, neither side looked likely to alter the scoreline as Wednesday sealed their third successive victory.

Bolton remain 16th in the Championship, eight points below the play-off positions and, more importantly, just seven points clear of the bottom three.

Freedman's side return to action on Saturday, when Birmingham City are the visitors to the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Ream, Knight, Ricketts (Alonso 73), Eagles (Sordell 73), Andrews, Spearing, Petrov (Chung-Yong 66), Ngog, Afobe
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Butterfield, Pratley, Riley

Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Llera, Johnson (Mattock 76), Antonio (Johnson 90), McCabe, Prutton, Helan, Sidibe (O'Grady 76), Lee
Subs Not Used: Bywater, Taylor, Lines, Madine
Booked: Johnson
Goals: Sidibe 25

Referee: Scott Mathieson
Attendance: 22,292

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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