Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Stoke City

  • December 29, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/a6c74

Bolton will end 2018 outside of the Championship relegation zone after playing out a goalless draw with Stoke City at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Unfancied by many prior to kick-off, Wanderers were rarely troubled by a side who were last season relegated from the Premier League and could have snatched a deserved victory late on, only for Potters goalkeeper Jack Butland to keep out a close-range header from Mark Beevers.

The point - the Trotters' fourth in the space of as many days - lifts them above Rotherham United on goal difference as the curtain closes on another eventful year at the football club.

Back in action just three days on from victory over Rotherham, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson made two enforced changes as Jonathan Grounds and Josh Vela came in for the injured duo of Andrew Taylor and Gary O'Neil.

Sammy Ameobi was passed fit after requiring an injection on a twisted ankle on Boxing Day, while Jack Hobbs shrugged off a slight knock to take up a place amongst the substitutes - where Luke Murphy also appeared for the first time since August.

With play underway, it took the visitors seven minutes to fashion out the first shooting opportunity and it fell to the head of James McClean, who brought a reflex save out of Ben Alnwick in the Wanderers goal.

There was little to call in terms of goalmouth activity and it wasn't until midway through the half that another chance arrived, with Sam Clucas this time firing over for Stoke as he got on the end of a cutback from Tom Ince.

Bolton registered their first attempt on goal with 33 minutes played, with Christian Doidge getting the better of Ashley Williams before knocking the ball down to Vela, whose first-time volley was gathered easily by Butland.

Clucas dragged an effort off-target as Stoke immediately broke down the other end, while the final chance of the half went to the hosts - with Butland alert to tip the ball behind as Doidge latched on to a pass inside the box from Vela.

Both sides emerged from the half-time interval without any alterations and play continued with the home side on top, with Doidge bending a shot narrowly wide of goal within two minutes of the restart.

Doidge was in the thick of the action again shortly thereafter, heading wide from a Jason Lowe cross, while Alnwick was alert to a looping header from Clucas as he got on the end of a cross from Tom Edwards.

McClean cut in from the left-hand side before curling wide midway through the half, shortly before substitute Josh Magennis chested the ball into the path of Doidge, who was quickly outnumbered as he looked to get a shot away.

The best chance of the game arrived with eight minutes remaining, as a diagonal ball from Grounds picked out Magennis on the right flank. His cross back into the area Beevers, whose downward header was parried away superbly by Butland.

The final opportunity came inside the second of four added minutes for stoppages, but Tyrese Campbell couldn't find the target from the edge of the box as his curling attempt flashed harmlessly wide of Alnwick's far post.

The goalless draw - Bolton's first at home since April 2017 - moves them out of the bottom three on goal difference ahead of their New Year's Day trip to in-form Hull City, who today emerged victorious over league leaders Leeds United at Elland Road.

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Grounds, Beevers, Wheater, Lowe, Ameobi, J Williams, Wilson, Vela (Noone 90), Donaldson (Magennis 65), Doidge
Subs Not Used: Matthews, Buckley, Hobbs, Murphy, Olkowski
Booked: Donaldson, Vela

Stoke City: Butland, Edwards, Shawcross, Williams, Martins Indi, Allen, Woods, Clucas (Campbell 72), Ince (Etebo 72), Afobe (Crouch 81), McClean
Subs Not Used: Federici, Berahino, Martina, Fletcher
Booked: Martins Indi, Allen, Edwards

Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 15,309

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Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Wigan Athletic 28 29
21 Rotherham United 28 25
22 Reading 28 23
23 Bolton Wanderers 27 22
24 Ipswich Town 28 18
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2017/18 Player of the Year?
53.85% Ben Alnwick
13.11% Sammy Ameobi
10.49% Karl Henry
8.39% Antonee Robinson
4.98% David Wheater
3.41% Mark Beevers
2.1% Mark Little
1.84% Josh Vela
1.57% Darren Pratley
0.26% Reece Burke