Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 10, 2018 | By Chris Mann
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Aaron Wilbraham scored his first Bolton Wanderers goal, heading home a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Wilbraham, much maligned by supporters, had been on the field for less than 10 minutes at Hillsborough when he powered an unstoppable header beyond Joe Wildsmith to earn the Trotters a third consecutive draw away from home.

Wednesday had earlier taken the lead in controversial circumstances through George Boyd, with the referee's assistant initially raising his flag for an offside against Jordan Rhodes.

After making seven changes prior to the midweek draw at Reading, Phil Parkinson kept faith with nine of those to have started at the Madejski Stadium. Out went Filipe Morais and Jan Kirchhoff, allowing for Sammy Ameobi and Derik Osede to come into the side.

With the action underway, it was the hosts who created the first opportunity of the afternoon, but Daniel Pudil couldn't direct his volley on target as the ball flashed harmlessly wide of Ben Alnwick's goal.

They came close to opening the scoring from the next attack though, with Atdhe Nuhiu getting away from his marker before glancing a header just wide of the far post.

Wanderers thought they were in on 17 minutes after Jon Flanagan played the ball to Ameobi. His flick put Adam Le Fondre one-on-one with Wildsmith, but the offside flag was raised just as the forward was about to hit the net.

Wednesday were in behind the visiting defence once again shortly afterwards, with Jack Hunt stealing in unopposed. His effort from a narrow angle failed to trouble Alnwick, however, with the ball almost rolling out for a throw-in on the far side.

Bolton's first shot on target came midway through the half as Ameobi stood over a free-kick, but his deflected effort lacked the pace or power to trouble Wildsmith, who made a comfortable save.

That seemed to spark Wanderers into life, with Will Buckley firing wide against his former club, before an overhead-kick from Le Fondre was blocked by the body of an Owls defender.

Nuhiu then squandered the chance to break the deadlock, forcing a save out of Alnwick at his near post after initially getting away from both Mark Beevers and Reece Burke inside the Wanderers penalty area.

The final attacking moment of the half fell the way of the visitors, but Wildsmith got down low to parry away a goalbound header from Buckley as he rose to meet a pin-point cross from Ameobi.

There were no substitutions to either side as the players came back out for the start of the second period, which began with Buckley shooting straight into the body of Wildsmith after he had got on the end of a cutback from Andrew Taylor.

Buckley's afternoon came to an end on the hour and his replacement, Morais, was involved instantly as his corner was headed goalwards by Darren Pratley before being deflected behind.

Morais stepped over another set-piece, with Osede this time the one to make the connection, but Wildsmith was well placed to make the save.

Wildsmith was in outstanding form in the Wednesday goal and made two further stops to deny Ameobi, before the hosts should have gone ahead on 77 minutes as Nuhiu got between Beevers and Burke before heading wide.

The deadlock was broken just over a minute later, however, with Wanderers boss Parkinson left fuming on the sidelines.

Lucas Joao's through ball put Boyd in behind the Trotters defence and he made no mistake with a first-time finish into the bottom corner of Alnwick's goal.

Controversy arose, however, due to the assistant referee raising his flag for an offside. After a brief discussion with the match official, Darren Bond, the goal was allowed to stand, with television replays showing Rhodes, who wasn't interfering with play, was the offender.

After an impressive second-half display, that sure came as a blow to the visitors, who came close to levelling five minutes later as Burke saw a header from a Morais free-kick tipped over the crossbar.

Wilbraham and Zach Clough were introduced for the final six minutes and that double change paid off in the third of four added minutes, as Wilbraham got away from his marker to head back across goal and into the net to spark wild scenes amongst the travelling support high behind the goal.

The 38-year-old's effort earned Bolton a share of the spoils and although they drop one place to 20th in the Championship table, Parkinson's side now have a six-point gap between themselves and the bottom three.

Wanderers return to action next Saturday, with a televised tea-time kick-off against Aston Villa at Macron Stadium.

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Venancio, Lees, Pudil, Hunt, Clare, Pelupessy (Jones 90+2), Reach, Boyd (Fox 86), Joao, Nuhiu (Rhodes 77)
Subs Not Used: Dawson, Jones, Butterfield, Loovens, Palmer
Goals: Boyd 78

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, A Taylor, Beevers, Burke, Flanagan (Wilbraham 84), Osede (Clough 84), Henry, Pratley, Buckley (Morais 60), Ameobi, Le Fondre
Subs Not Used: Howard, Dervite, Karacan, Robinson
Goals: Wilbraham 90+3

Referee: Darren Bond
Attendance: 26,809

Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
17 Sheffield Wednesday 38 41
18 Hull City 38 39
19 Bolton Wanderers 38 39
20 Reading 38 36
21 Barnsley 38 33
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2016/17 Player of the Year?
52.34% David Wheater
15.03% Mark Beevers
12.76% Gary Madine
10.81% Josh Vela
3.98% Jay Spearing
1.87% Andrew Taylor
1.26% Ben Alnwick
0.85% Liam Trotter
0.45% Mark Howard
0.41% Tom Thorpe
0.24% Lawrie Wilson