Millwall 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 19, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Darren Pratley scored the only goal of the game on Friday night, as Bolton ran out 1-0 winners over Millwall at The Den.

Possession was split right down the middle in the capital, but Wanderers were fully deserving of their victory after creating a high number of clear goalscoring opportunities - which finally took its toll midway through the second period.

Pratley, who has come into form since the arrival of Neil Lennon in October, latched on to an outstanding pass from Lee Chung-Yong. He produced a dummy to work some space away from Danny Shittu, before firing the ball past David Forde and in off the underside of the crossbar.

Wanderers boss Lennon made three changes to the side that started against Ipswich Town last weekend, with Josh Vela, Robert Hall and Eidur Gudjohnsen taking the places of David Wheater, Max Clayton and Conor Wilkinson - the latter two of whom were named on the substitutes' bench.

The first chance of the game arrived in the 8th minute and it fell the way of the visitors. After a dangerous cross from Lee Chung-Yong was turned behind for a corner, the resulting ball into the box saw Tim Ream bring a superb save out of Forde - who denied the United States international a first Wanderers goal, on his 100th appearance for the club.

Pratley and Robert Hall were looking dangerous on the counter attack, while Matt Mills brought a save out of Forde with another goalbound header on 20 minutes.

Millwall saw a spell of possession pass by without a goalscoring opportunity in the 10 minutes that followed, during which time Neil Danns entered the referee's book for a late challenge on Shaun Williams, before Hall, jeered because of his links to West Ham United, shot straight at Forde from a narrow angle.

A driving run from Chung-Yong presented Pratley with a shooting chance soon after the half-hour, forcing Forde into another smart save, before Williams' cross into the box at the other end failed to pick out any gambling Millwall forward.

Moments after Pratley spurned another shot on 38 minutes, Bolton had penalty appeals rejected by referee Stuart Attwell - who didn't believe there was enough contact on Hall, who had taken a tumble under a challenge from Alan Dunne.

Forde got down well at the feet of Liam Feeney in the dying stages of the half, denying him a goal against his former side, while the final chance fell the way of Angel - who volleyed wide of goal from six yards - as the sides went in level at the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second half, which began with the away side on top. Feeney raced away from his marker down the Bolton right, before whipping a cross into the box that Pratley could only direct over the crossbar.

Wanderers hearts were in mouths five minutes later, as Lee Gregory went to ground as he knocked the ball beyond goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. Appeals for a penalty were turned down by Attwell, who would have had no option but to produce a red card if he had pointed to the spot.

Pratley drilled another attempt wide as Bolton broke straight up to the other end, while Scott Malone shot straight at Lonergan as Millwall broke ground in the Wanderers half for the first time all evening.

Two changes in quick succession saw Ricardo Fuller and Lee Martin replace Scott McDonald and Magaye Gueye for the hosts, before Gudjohnsen's night came to an end on the hour when former Millwall midfielder Liam Trotter came on in his place.

Bolton couldn't believe their luck when, in the 64th minute, a deflected shot from Hall came back off the post. The loose ball then rolled across the goalline and struck Forde on the ankle, before rolling away to safety.

The ball was in the back of the Millwall net four minutes later, however, as Chung-Yong picked out the run of Pratley. He ran at Shittu, left the big defender on his backside and fired a powerful shot past Forde and in off the crossbar to give Wanderers a lead their performance deserved.

Chances were at a premium from that point on, as Bolton sat back and waited for Millwall to cause a threat.

That moment didn't arrive until three minutes from time, when Lonergan, who was perhaps fortunate to still be on the field, raced out of his goal to dive at the feet of Martyn Woolford. In the moments that preceeded that, another former Lions player, Wilkinson, had been brought on in place of Hall - prompting a chorus of boos from the home support.

Forde denied Wilkinson a first senior goal for Wanderers, as he parried a shot away in the final minute of normal time, before some last-ditch defending denied him an almost certain goal in stoppage time after Ream had attempted to square the ball across the six-yard box.

Despite some sloppy finishing, albeit with a makeshift attack, Bolton were good value for their win and move up to 14th place in the Championship ahead of the Saturday fixtures. They return to action on Boxing Day, when Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to Macron Stadium.

Millwall: Forde, Wilkinson (Abdou 77), Dunne, Shittu, Malone, Gueye (Martin 57), Angel, Williams, Woolford, McDonald (Fuller 55), Gregory
Subs Not Used: Easter, Briggs, Webster, King
Booked: Dunne, Shittu

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Vela, Mills, Dervite, Ream, Danns, Pratley, Feeney, Chung-Yong, Hall (Wilkinson 83), Gudjohnsen (Trotter 62)
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Moxey, Spearing, Wheater, Clough
Booked: Danns, Mills, Pratley
Goals: Pratley 68

Referee: Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 8,635

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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