Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Oxford United

  • September 17, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton bounced back from a weekend thrashing by playing out a goalless draw with Oxford United in Keith Hill's first home game as manager.

Hammered 6-1 by Rotherham United just four days prior, Wanderers were much improved at the University of Bolton Stadium and came closest to taking all three points when a Will Buckley effort came back off the crossbar in the first-half.

When the teams were announced an hour ahead of kick-off, there were two changes to the Trotters side beaten at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday, with Jason Lowe and Will Buckley getting the nod ahead of Luke Murphy and James Weir, both of whom dropped to the substitutes' bench.

Despite Lowe's inclusion, it was Liam Bridcutt who retained the captain's armband - a clear message of support and backing towards the on-loan Nottingham Forest midfielder from the new boss.

Once the action had got under way beneath the floodlights, it was the hosts who created the first opportunity of the evening as Thibaud Verlinden saw a shot blocked, moments before Will Buckley sent a header straight into the arms of Simon Eastwood after being picked out unmarked at the far post.

Adam Chicksen was next to try his luck for Bolton, lashing a shot over the crossbar after Verlinden's low cross was only partially cleared.

Ali Crawford sent a free-kick into the gloves of Eastwood on the quarter-hour, while Dennis Politic struck a fierce drive over the crossbar after another cross from Verlinden was only cleared to the edge of the area.

Wanderers then came all so close to breaking the deadlock as Buckley sprung the offside trap and cut inside, before seeing his bending effort come back off the bar. Josh Emmanuel tried to direct a rebound on target, only for United to get men back and clear the danger.

Verlinden opened his goalscoring account on his debut last time out and stung the gloves of Eastwood on 20 minutes, shortly before Lowe latched on to a pass from Politic and shot narrowly wide of the target.

Oxford came to life midway through the half, with former Wanderers loanee James Henry sending a tame attempt straight at Remi Matthews.

Ben Woodburn saw an effort charged down by Jake Wright soon after, before Tariqe Fosu cleared the bar with a drive from distance.

Matthews was called into action again on 37 minutes, this time to keep out a header from Woodburn, before Wright put his body on the line once more to deny Matt Taylor a certain goal.

The visitors were ending the half on a high and would have gone ahead three minutes before the break but for an outstanding save from Matthews, who got down low to keep out a flick header from Rob Dickie.

Both sides had one final chance to break the deadlock before the interval, with Taylor thwarted by a sliding challenge from Wright, before Verlinden miscued a volley at the other end as the teams went in goalless.

Neither manager made a substitution as the players returned for the second period, which began with Matthews again keeping his clean sheet intact by stopping a Cameron Brannagan header at the near post.

Brannagan tried again moments later, sending a volley into the gloves of the goalkeeper after his initial free-kick was blocked by a Wanderers wall.

Fosu headed wide for Oxford midway through the half, while Verlinden brought Eastwood into action with 20 minutes to play after twisting and turning away from his marker.

United then came close to opening the scoring as Henry - a one-time loanee at the University of Bolton Stadium - took aim from 25 yards, with his deflected drive smacking the outside of the post with Matthews rooted to the spot.

Weir was introduced in place of Verlinden for the final eight minutes and almost made an instant impact, linking up with Politic an Crawford before seeing a shot bounce narrowly wide of Eastwood's goal.

Three minutes of time were added for stoppages at the end of the game, but neither side could fashion out any further opportunities - as they both left the field with a point to show for their efforts.

By bouncing back from their weekend humilitation, Bolton are now on minus 10 points with seven games of the campaign played. They return to action on Saturday, when Sunderland are the visitors to the University of Bolton Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Chicksen, Wright, Hobbs, Emmanuel, Verlinden (Weir 82), Lowe, Bridcutt, Politic, Crawford, Buckley
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, L Murphy, Darcy, Zouma, Brown, Senior
Booked: Hobbs, Politic

Oxford United: Eastwood, Cadden, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Gorrin, Brannagan, Henry, Woodburn (Forde 67), Fosu-Henry (Hall 89), Taylor (Agyei 78)
Subs Not Used: Stevens, Long, Sykes, Thorne

Referee: Paul Marsden
Attendance: 6,786

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Portsmouth 19 42
2 Bolton Wanderers 18 39
3 Oxford United 18 36
4 Stevenage 20 36
5 Peterborough United 19 35
View Full Standings >>


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