Sunderland 0-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 26, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton took a point from their final away game of the decade by holding Sunderland to a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.

Now under the guidance of former Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson, the Black Cats have failed to perform in recent weeks and calls for his dismissal only increased as the Trotters registered a rare result on the road.

Having beaten Southend United at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday, Keith Hill named an unchanged Wanderers side for their trip to Wearside as they went in search of only a second away league win of the campaign - the worst return in the entire division.

With the action underway, it took just five minutes for the first chance to arrive as Sunderland forward Charlie Wyke poked the ball narrowly wide after latching on to a cross from Denver Hume.

The hosts were back on the attack moments later, with Max Power volleying over from distance, shortly before Bolton's first opportunity saw Ronan Darcy volley over unmarked from 12 yards after Joe Dodoo had produced an outstanding cross from the right-hand side.

Remi Matthews was called into action for the first time on 16 minutes to keep out a header from Wyke, while Darcy was wasteful once again at the other end after Dodoo had once again picked out the academy graduate deep in opposition territory.

Josh Earl made a superb block to thwart Duncan Watmore midway through the half, moments before Luke O'Nien headed wide from a Grant Leadbitter corner.

Luke Murphy was on target against Southend last time out and looked to mark the arrival of a baby daughter with another goal, but he bent a shot inches over the crossbar after receiving the ball from his namesake Daryl.

Sunderland had the ball in the net on 32 minutes as Tom Flanagan bundled home but referee Ross Joyce ruled the goal out for a foul on Matthews, with television replays showing the decision may well have been harsh on the Black Cats defender.

Wanderers should have gone ahead nine minutes before the break as Daryl Murphy pounced on a short backpass from Alim Ozturk. After rounding Jon McLaughlin, the narrow angle meant he had to cut the ball back to Luke Murphy, whose effort was eventually turned behind for a corner.

O'Nein headed wide from a corner as the home side went back on the attack before the break, while the final chance of the half fell at the feet of Daryl Murphy, whose speculative effort from 40 yards flew over the bar as he looked to net against his former club.

Despite overseeing a goalless opening 45 minutes, neither manager made alterations as the players returned for a second period which began with Thibaud Verlinden shooting into the body of Ozturk, with Luke Murphy unmarked in a central position had the on-loan Stoke City winger got his head up.

O'Nein blasted a free-kick over the crossbar 10 minutes after the restart as Sunderland began to increase the pressure, before the same player drove an effort inches wide of Matthew's post as he got on the end of a cutback from Watmore on the hour.

Matthews made a routine claim to keep out a deflected shot from Lynden Gooch four minutes later, moments before Daryl Murphy was denied by an excellent point-blank save from Jon McLaughin.

The former Sunderland forward was picked out inside the Sunderland box by Josh Emmanuel, who had done remarkably well to make room for himself down the right-hand side, but Murphy's header was clawed away by the home goalkeeper and cleared to safety.

Chris Maguire saw a dipping free-kick tipped over by Matthews as the game entered the final 10 minutes, moments before seeing another effort flash past the post.

Sunderland looked the more likely winners in the latter stages and came close again when Max Power fired wide with three minutes remaining, while the final chance seemed destined to bring a winner but Matthews flung himself to his left to tip a goalbound strike from Maguire behind.

Bolton remain bottom of the League One table but will leapfrog Southend on Sunday should they beat Shrewsbury Town at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Sunderland: J McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Flanagan (De Bock 73), O'Nien, Leadbitter, Power, Hume, Watmore (Maguire 65), Wyke, Gooch (McNulty 79)
Subs Not Used: Burge, C McLaughlin, Grigg, Sammut
Booked: Flanagan, Hume

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Earl, Wright, Bridcutt, Emmanuel, L Murphy, Lowe, Darcy (Chicksen 88), Verlinden (O'Grady 65), Dodoo, D Murphy
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Politic, Zouma, Senior, Graham
Booked: Emmanuel, Lowe, Darcy, Bridcutt

Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 33,821

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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