Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Derby County

  • September 17, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton dropped back to the bottom of the Championship on Tuesday, after being held to a 2-2 draw by Derby County at the Reebok Stadium.

Looking to avoid a fifth successive league defeat, Wanderers took an early lead when Alex Baptiste slotted home from the edge of the box with just five minutes on the clock.

But Derby hit back and were level within two minutes, as Johnny Russell tapped home from close range. Then, ten minutes later, Russell put the visitors ahead as he again pounced to slot home from inside the six-yard box.

Bolton equalised in the dying moments of the first half, with Chris Eagles' 25 yard piledriver finding a way past Lee Grant. There were no further goals after the break, as both sides were made to settle for a point apiece - marking Wanderers' worst start to a league campaign since 1902.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made three changes to the side that were beaten by Leeds United on Saturday, with David Wheater, Robert Hall and Jermaine Beckford taking the places of Zat Knight, Darren Pratley and David Ngog, who were all on the bench. In Knight's absence, Jay Spearing was given the captain's armband.

Unlike some of their sluggish starts of late, Bolton started the better side. Early attempts from Eagles and Spearing signalled their intent, but failed to trouble Rams goalkeeper Lee Grant.

Their first attempt on target arrived with five minutes gone, and it ended with the hosts taking a deserved early lead. Neat interplay from Eagles and Lee Chung-Yong resulted in the latter playing the ball inside for Baptiste. The full-back beat one defender and shimmied away from another before stroking the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

The lead lasted just two minutes, though, as Johnny Russell ghosted in unmarked to slot home a low cross from close range. Russell was on target again, on 18 minutes, as he poked home from inside the six-yard box after Chris Martin's shot had been blocked by David Wheater. The former Middlesbrough defender appeared to get the final touch on Russell's shot, but there was no question as to who was claiming the plaudits.

Not to be left too downhearted by Derby's quick comeback, Bolton immediately went in search of an equaliser. Eagles twice tested Grant from inside the Derby box, but the goalkeeper gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Jamie Ward saw a free-kick stopped by Adam Bogdan, while Jake Buxton threw himself in front of a Robert Hall shot at the other end as the game approached the half-hour mark.

An Eagles free-kick deflected just wide of the post inside the final five minutes of the half, but the Wanderers midfielder opened his account for the season just before the break. After seeing a couple of sighters flash wide earlier in the game, Eagles received the ball from Tim Ream and struck a powerful effort into the bottom corner from 25 yards to bring the scores level.

Spearing scuffed a shot wide in stoppage time, meaning the two sides went in level at the interval.

There were no changes to either side at the break, as the second period started in complete contrast to the opening 45 minutes. The first chance of the half fell the way of Eagles, but his strike from the edge of the box was so poor it went out for a Derby throw-in.

Eagles was back on the ball shortly afterwards and came a lot closer than his previous attempt, this time flashing a shot inches wide of Grant's post.

Although Bolton were enjoying the lion's share of the possession, they were susceptible to the counter-attack and would have gone behind shortly after the hour but for a superb goalline block by Matt Mills. Craig Bryson looked certain to put the visitors back in front, only for the Trotters defender to hurl his body at the Rams forward and keep the game level.

Wanderers went straight up to the other end of the pitch but Beckford's disappointing night was summed up, as he sliced a shot wide of the target.

Baptiste came close with a diving header at the midway stage of the half, while Adam Smith's dangerous cross was cut out by Wheater at the other end. Then, with 15 minutes to go, Bolton spurned a glorious opportunity to go back in front as Spearing's deep cross was headed wide by unmarked substitute David Ngog.

A number of substitutions by Derby boss Nigel Clough took the sting out of the game in the latter stages, as Bolton pressed hard for a winning goal but failing to find a way through a resilient defence.

Referee Scott Mathieson brought the game to an end after three minutes of stoppage time, with both sides having to settle for a draw. The result means Bolton drop back to the bottom of the Championship table, with their return of three points from the opening seven league games marking their worst start to a campaign since in 111 years.

Freedman's side return to action on Saturday afternoon, when they face Brighton & Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Wheater, Mills, Tierney, Spearing, Ream, Eagles, Hall (Ngog 72), Chung-Yong, Beckford
Subs Not Used: Mears, Lonergan, Odelusi, Kamara, Knight, Pratley
Booked: Tierney, Baptiste, Eagles
Goals: Baptiste 5, Eagles 41

Derby County: Grant, Smith, Buxton, Keogh, Forsyth, Eustace, Bryson, Hughes (Coutts 50), Russell (Sammon 83), Martin, Ward (Davies 79)
Subs Not Used: Jacobs, Deeney, Freeman, Bennett
Booked: Eustace, Coutts
Goals: Russell 7,18

Referee: Scott Mathieson
Attendance: 14,260

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
15 Shrewsbury Town 26 30
16 Cambridge United 25 30
17 Bolton Wanderers 25 29
18 Lincoln City 25 28
19 Fleetwood Town 25 28
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2020/21 Player of the Year?
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17.79% Matt Gilks
10.64% Alex Baptiste
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2.52% Antoni Sarcevic
1.54% Gethin Jones
0.42% Nathan Delfouneso
0.28% Ryan Delaney