Middlesbrough 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 24, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/d6150

Bolton suffered three successive defeats for the first time under Neil Lennon, after they were beaten 1-0 at Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening.

Following on from their heavy defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Wanderers were disappointing in the first half at the Riverside Stadium and trailed 1-0 at the break after sloppy defending had provided Albert Adomah with the opening goal.

The visitors were much improved after the break and had numerous opportunities to take an unlikely point, but they were wasteful in front of goal as Boro took the three points that consolidates 2nd place in the Championship and sees Bolton drop one to 19th - just six points above the relegation zone.

Wanderers boss Neil Lennon made six changes to the team that started against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, with Ben Amos, David Wheater, Dean Moxey, Saidy Janko, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey all coming into the side.

The opening period began in slow fashion, with 10 minutes on the clock before the first chance of the game fell the way of the hosts. Lee Tomlin received the ball 25 yards from goal, but failed to hit the target as Amos watched a shot roll harmlessly wide of his post.

Wanderers' first attempt came in the 18th minute, after Gudjohnsen had won a free-kick after he was fouled on the edge of the Boro box. Barry Bannan whipped the ball into the box, where Dorian Dervite headed just wide of Dimitrios Konstantopoulos' goal.

The usually reliant Patrick Bamford somehow skied a shot over the Bolton crossbar, after he was found unmarked eight yards from goal two minutes later, while Tomlin saw a goalbound strike charged down by David Wheater.

Bolton squandered a major opportunity to break the deadlock moments later, as Gudjohnsen latched on to a flick from Heskey, but the former Barcelona forward failed to make the necessary contact required to prod the ball past an exposed Konstantopoulos.

Amos was called into action for the first time on the half hour, as he got down well to parry Bamford's shot, but he was beaten four minutes later as a simple ball through the heart of the Wanderers defence put Adomah clean through on goal and he slotted past a helpless goalkeeper to give Boro the lead.

Janko, who scored on his debut against Fulham earlier in the month, forced Konstantopoulos into an awkward save five minutes before the break, while Bamford repeated his earlier trick at the other end by firing over the bar from close range with the goal at his mercy.

Josh Vela entered the referee's book in added time for a rash challenge, as Bolton went in at the break trailing 1-0.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which started with Boro on the front foot.

Moments after a cross from Bannan was just too far ahead of Gudjohnsen and Heskey, the hosts broke up to the other end of the field and would have doubled their advantage but for a timely intervention by Wheater, who denied Bamford a certain goal.

Bamford thought he had scored a minute later, after this time working free of the Bolton defence, but he dragged his shot wide from close range after George Friend had cut the ball back.

The visitors came agonisingly close to an equaliser just after the hour. After Janko had won a corner, Dervite got on the end of Bannan's ball into the box but was unfortunate to see his header cleared off the line.

Liam Feeney was next to hurl the ball into the danger zone, with Heskey just about being beaten in the air, before bookings for Dervite and Janko, as well as the introduction of Zach Clough, provided a few brief breaks in play.

Kike and Adam Forshaw came on as Boro made a double substitution with 15 minutes to go, before Adam Le Fondre took the place of Janko soon after.

Sandwiched between those changes, however, were chances at each end as Adomah was denied by Amos before Clough's dangerous run was halted as Konstantopoulos pounced on his ball back across the box.

Wanderers should have been level with six minutes left to play, but Feeney was left with his head in his hands after he nodded Bannan's cross wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.

With Bolton going all out for a late equaliser, they were almost caught out at the back when Tomlin struck the crossbar in the final minute of normal time before Wanderers saw desperate appeals for a penalty turned down when the ball appeared to strike a hand inside the Boro box.

Amos was pushed forward in the final minute, in a last-ditch attempt to score a goal from a corner, but Aitor Karanka's side held out to claim an unspectacular victory that could prove vital to their promotion hopes at the end of the campaign.

Defeat for Bolton means they are currently enduring their worst run since Lennon succeeded Dougie Freedman in October. They return to action with a home game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, before playing host to Reading next Tuesday.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Fredericks, Kalas, Gibson, Friend, Leadbitter, Clayton, Reach (Forshaw 76), Tomlin, Adomah, Bamford (Kike 76)
Subs Not Used: Whitehead, Carayol, Omeruo, Wildschut, Mejias
Booked: Kike
Goals: Adomah 34

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Vela, Wheater, Dervite, Moxey, Janko (Le Fondre 83), Danns, Bannan, Feeney, Gudjohnsen (Clough 71), Heskey
Subs Not Used: Twardzik, Fitzsimons, Threlkeld, Slavchev, Walker
Booked: Vela, Dervite, Janko, Danns, Heskey

Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 16,569

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Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 19 17
20 Tranmere Rovers 18 17
21 Milton Keynes Dons 19 14
22 Southend United 20 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 16 2
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