Blackpool 0-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • October 01, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton put a halt to their recent poor away form, by producing arguably their best performance of the season in a goalless draw at Blackpool.

Wanderers had conceded 10 goals in their last three away league outings, but recorded their first clean sheet on the road since January as they drew for the third time in their last five games. The wait for a win continues, but there were certainly more encouraging signs for the 1,500-plus travelling supporters in attendance at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool did cause problems on the night, and came close when Ricardo Fuller saw his first-half shot cleared off the line, but the visitors will feel they did enough to win the game and would have left thinking about what might have been after Jermaine Beckford struck a post in the second period.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made five changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Yeovil Town on Saturday as Chris Eagles, Robert Hall, Lee Chung-Yong and David Ngog dropped to the bench. Marc Tierney missed the game with a broken foot, while Darren Pratley and Beckford came back into the side.

There were also full debuts for recent loan signings Neil Danns, Liam Feeney and Kevin McNaughton, who received international clearance on his move from Cardiff City just prior to the game.

The first half was probably the best that Bolton had produced in a league fixture so far this campaign, with Feeney causing no end of trouble to the Blackpool defence. But it was the hosts who set the early pace, with Thomas Ince and Ricardo Fuller both having attempts that failed to test Adam Bogdan in the Trotters goal.

With six minutes played, Wanderers almost took the lead in fortuitous circumstances as Feeney's cross from the right seemed to elude Matt Gilks. The Blackpool goalkeeper did superbly well to rearrange his feet, before plucking the ball off his goalline.

Feeney came close with an attempt he actually meant just moments later, but Gilks did well to get down and deny the on-loan Millwall winger. Former Blackpool captain, turned Wanderers defender, Alex Baptiste fired wide on the quarter-hour, as the visitors failed to make the most of their early chances.

A dangerous cross from Darren Pratley then caused havoc in the Blackpool box. In a move which ended with Feeney setting up Beckford, the former Leeds United forward struck from close range but straight at Gilks.

Paul Ince's side had the ball in the net, with 20 minutes played, but the strike was ruled out for offside. Former Bolton player Chris Basham then came close, only to see his thunderbold of a shot flash wide of the target.

Pratley headed a McNaughton cross wide of goal shortly afterwards, before Baptiste scooped a Fuller shot off the line.

Beckford should have done better, when he shot straight at Gilks on the half-hour, while Bobby Grant was guilty of the same thing at the other end when he struck into the body of Bogdan from the edge of the box.

Thomas Ince and Stephen Dobbie both shot wide as the game entered the final 10 minutes of the half, before Pratley headed wide of goal with the final attempt of the opening 45 minutes. That meant the two sides went in goalless at the break, after a very entertaining end-to-end half of football.

Encouraged by their side's performance, Wanderers emerged for the start of the second half to a great roar from the travelling supporters - who were hoping to see their team pick up a first league win of the campaign. There were no changes in personnel by either manager, as they held out for more of the same.

The first chance of the second period fell the way of the hosts, with Bogdan producing a stunning reflex save to deny Fuller.

Wanderers then came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, as Pratley's through ball picked up the run of Beckford. Still waiting for his first goal in Trotters colours, Beckford advanced to the edge of the box and took aim at goal. The forward's shot beat Gilks in the Blackpool goal, but the ball bounced back off the post and away to safety.

Danns headed straight at Gilks from a Jay Spearing corner moments later, before the quick tempo of the game appeared to come to a halt. A number of substitutions didn't help events, in a spell which also saw Seasiders midfielder Basham enter the referee's book for a late challenge on Medo Kamara.

It wasn't until the final 20 minutes that the pace picked up again as Beckford and Pratley were both denied by last ditch challenges from the home defence. Jack Robinson shot wide at the other end, as both managers began to contemplate a goalless draw.

Lee Chung-Yong took the place of Feeney for the final 15 minutes, and the change seemed to spur Bolton on for one final push. With less than 10 minutes left to play, Gilks produced a magnificent save to deny Beckford from close range. Baptiste looked set to hammer home the rebound against his former side, but the Pool defence held firm to throw their bodies in the way of his shot.

Tim Ream diverted Baptiste's header over the crossbar from the resulting corner, before the hosts went in search of a late winner at the other end. Ince pushed forward on three separate occasions, with the final attack resulting in him bringing a fine save out of Bogdan. Neither team could find a breakthrough though, as they were made to settle for a point apiece.

The draw means Bolton remain 23rd in the Championship table, and they will take some renewed confident into Saturday's game at Birmingham City after recording their first away clean sheet since January's draw at Crystal Palace.

Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Cathcart, MacKenzie, Robinson, Ince, Basham, Dobbie, Osbourne, Grant (Bishop 67), Fuller (Chopra 87)
Subs Not Used: Warner, Orr, Tyson, Davies, Barkhuizen
Booked: Basham

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Mills, Ream, McNaughton, Danns, Spearing, Kamara, Pratley, Feeney (Chung-Yong 74), Beckford
Subs Not Used: Eagles, Ngog, Hall, Knight, Lonergan, Wheater

Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Attendance: 13,819

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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