Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Derby County

  • August 08, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/3c130

Bolton and Derby County couldn't be separated on the opening day of the Championship season, as they played out a goalless draw at Macron Stadium.

Both goalkeepers enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the North West sunshine, with very little to do between them, but the crossbar came to their rescue on no fewer than four separate occasions - with Derby hitting the woodwork in the first half, before Wanderers struck the same bar three times in the final 15 minutes.

The home side ended the game with ten men, as Jay Spearing was shown a second yellow card for simulation, but Neil Lennon's side held out for a point against one of the league's favourites for automatic promotion.

Having ended last season with a 1-0 defeat at home to Birmingham City, just two players who began that day survived as Lennon named Dean Moxey and Neil Danns amongst his starting eleven.

Ben Amos was in goal after making his move from Manchester United permanent over the summer, while debuts were handed to Lawrie Wilson, Prince-Desir Gouano and Gary Madine. Darren Pratley captained the side for the first time, playing alongside former skipper Spearing in midfield.

Bolton started brightly, with Liam Feeney twice dragging wide inside the opening 10 minutes, although neither side could find any attacking momentum with the majority of the play taking place in the middle of the park.

Wilson earned the first yellow card of the season on the quarter-hour for hauling down Tom Ince on the halfway line, before the visitors were forced into an early change when Craig Bryson limped off to be replaced by Jeff Hendrick.

Derby came close to breaking the deadlock with their first attack of the game, but Johnny Russell's shot from Hendrick's cutback clipped the angle of post and bar before going behind for a goal-kick.

Wanderers responded immediately, with Madine heading wide from a Feeney cross, before Amos made his first save of the afternoon to deny Russell with an outstretched foot.

Derby were forced into another chance on 33 minutes after a collission between Gouano and Will Hughes left both players on the floor. Gouano received treatment and recovered to continue, although Hughes left the field on a stretcher in a leg brace and in obvious pain. Ryan Shotton replaced the unfortunate Hughes.

Wilson fired over for Bolton once play had resumed, but the two sides went in goalless at the interval after a combination of Gouano and Dorian Dervite got back to deny Russell a clear goalscoring opportunity inside four minutes of added time.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which started with Spearing going inside the referee's notebook for a harmless challenge on Chris Martin on halfway.

Derby came close to going in front on 54 minutes, as an inswinging free-kick from Ince drifted narrowly wide of Amos' right-hand post, before Scott Carson was brought into his first save of the afternoon as Spearing shot straight at him at the other end.

Madine was inches away from making contact with a Feeney cross moments later, but it was Derby who should have taken the lead 20 minutes from time as substitute Andreas Weimann miscued a shot out for a throw-in when found unmarked eight yards from goal.

Emile Heskey replaced an ineffective Zach Clough on 73 minutes and struck the crossbar with his first touch, after outjumping Carson to direct a header goalwards.

Madine was then left cursing his luck, as he hit the bar twice in the space of six minutes, with Wanderers pushing on in search of what would almost certainly have been a winning goal.

Their momentum was brought to a sudden halt with four minutes to go, however, as Spearing squeezed away from two defenders inside the Derby box before going to ground. The former Liverpool midfielder made no appeal for a penalty and was shown a second yellow card by referee Andrew Madley upon returning to his feet.

Spearing was clearly incensed with the decision and attempted to talk around the referee, but was given his marching orders - prompting Lennon to berate the official from the sidelines.

Liam Trotter replaced Pratley inside four minutes of added time, as Wanderers switched from their attacking play in order to settle for a point and that is what they got, with a scoreless draw against, on paper, arguably the strongest team in the division.

Bolton return to action on Tuesday evening, when Burton Albion are the visitors to Macron Stadium in the League Cup, before Lennon takes his side to Middlesbrough when they return to Championship action next Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Wilson, Dervite, Gouano, Moxey, Spearing, Pratley (Trotter 90+2), Feeney, Clough (Heskey 73), Danns, Madine
Subs Not Used: Vela, Davies, Dobbie, Fitzsimons, Holding
Booked: Wilson, Spearing
Sent Off: Spearing

Derby County: Carson, Baird, Keogh, Shackell, Warnock, Thorne, Bryson (Hendrick 21), Hughes (Shotton 33), Ince, Martin, Russell (Weimann 67)
Subs Not Used: Grant, Forsyth, Bent, Pearce
Booked: Thorne

Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 17,162

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Pos Team Pld Pts
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21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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