Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Accrington Stanley

  • February 29, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Remi Matthews made an outstanding save in the dying seconds as Bolton, who perhaps should have been in complete control, were fortunate to take a point from a draw with Accrington Stanley.

Wanderers were dominant inside the opening 45 minutes but failed to convert their possession and shots in goals, allowing Stanley back into the game after the restart.

After a second period devoid of major chances for either side, Matthews produced a full-stretch save down to his right in the closing seconds to deny Jordan Clark, with referee Joshua Smith calling for full-time before the resulting corner could even be taken.

In response to Tuesday's last-gasp defeat at Blackpool, Keith Hill made three changes to the Bolton side as Brandon Fleming, Joe Dodoo and Daryl Murphy returned in place of Joe Bunney, Ethan Hamilton and Chris O'Grady - the latter of whom was left out of the squad completely.

Wanderers scored early before being thumped 7-1 in this season's reverse fixture back in November and they could have taken a lead inside 30 seconds on this occasion, with Dennis Politic stealing in ahead of Joe Maguire before volleying narrowly over the crossbar.

Luke Murphy, Dodoo, Daryl Murphy and Toto Nsiala all saw further attempts come and go inside the opening seven minutes, before Matthews was required at the other end after a defensive slip which had allowed Bobby Grant a clear run on goal forced the Trotters goalkeeper to come rushing off his line to claim.

Ali Crawford brought Josef Bursik into action on 12 minutes with a first-time shot from a Dodoo cutback, moments before his corner was headed just wide by Nsiala.

Dodoo was then unfortunate with two efforts, bringing Bursik into action with the second after an earlier attempt had flashed just wide, but that seemed to be it for the hosts' early signs of intent as Stanley began to increase their own possession levels with a period of calmness in midfield.

With 34 minutes played, Jason Lowe was next to try his luck with a half-volley from the edge of the box that whistled over the top, shortly before Jack Hobbs almost headed the ball into his own net as he stretched to clear a cross from Sam Finley.

Clark saw a strike charged down by Nsiala and Dodoo was thwarted by Bursik in the closing stages of the half, as the two teams left the field with the score still level at 0-0.

Yoan Zouma was introduced as the players returned for the second period, with Hobbs departing the action after appearing to have been carrying a niggle before the break.

The first attack after the restart went the way of the home side, with Politic shooting wide from a Luke Murphy pass.

Stanley came close to taking the lead on 52 minutes as Harvey Rodgers headed goalwards from a corner and Bobby Grant saw a close-range follow-up well gathered by Matthews.

Bursik saved from Luke Murphy shortly thereafter, before Crawford drilled wide after Rodgers had made a hash of a clearance inside the visiting penalty area.

Clark thought he had put Accrington ahead just before the hour, only to see his long-range effort tipped over the bar by Matthews.

The Wanderers 'keeper would then go on to make further stops to deny both Colby Bishop and a potential own-goal from Lowe, who had chested a cross from Finley back towards his teammate.

Kean Bryan scored his first Bolton goal in the midweek loss at Blackpool and came close to finding the net again midway through the half, heading wide from a Politic corner, shortly before he entered the book for a challenge at the other end which had denied Dion Charles a clear run into the Wanderers box.

Substitute Jerome Opoku curled a free-kick into the stands for Stanley with a little over 10 minutes to play, but the game's most vital moment arrived in added time.

Just seconds after Politic had headed over from a Lowe cross, the visitors broke up to the other end and looked certain to break the deadlock, only for Matthews to hurl himself down low to his right to tip away a goalbound strike from Clark and ensure the game ended all square.

A draw moves Bolton to within four points of Southend United at the foot of the League One table, although victory for AFC Wimbledon at Gillingham means the gap to safety has now been extended to 21 points.

With only 36 points left to collect, it would appear the Trotters' fate could well be sealed before the Easter period.

They return to action next Saturday, when they will look to close that gap with a trip to AFC Wimbledon.

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Fleming, Hobbs (Zouma 45), Nsiala, Lowe, Bryan, L Murphy, Crawford, Dodoo, Politic, D Murphy
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Emmanuel, Bunney, Delaney, Mellis, Hamilton
Booked: Bryan

Accrington Stanley: Bursik, Johnson, Sykes (Opoku 74), Rodgers, Maguire, Conneely, Finley, Clark, Grant (Charles 56), Pritchard, Bishop (Ashley-Seal 79)
Subs Not Used: Savin, Zanzala, Barclay, Diallo

Referee: Joshua Smith
Attendance: 12,011

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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