Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Burton Albion

  • September 06, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton produced an outstanding performance but no goals, as they were held to a controversial scoreless draw by 10-man Burton Albion.

Wanderers did have the ball in the net shortly before the half-hour as Kieran Lee swept home from the edge of the box, only for referee Joshua Smith to disallow the goal a minute or so later after consulting with his assistant on the near touchline.

Albion were reduced to 10 men four minutes from time after John Brayford picked up a second yellow card for a lunge on Oladapo Afolayan but the Trotters couldn't make their extra man count in the dying stages, which also saw penalty appeals for an apparent push on Nathan Delfouneso go unheard by the officials.

Having made eight changes to his team for last Tuesday's Papa John's Trophy victory over Port Vale, Ian Evatt stuck with just four of those as Liam Gordon, Ricardo Santos, Lloyd Isgrove and Eoin Doyle retained their places.

In comparison to their last league outing - a 1-0 defeat at Cambridge United - aside from the aforementioned Gordon, who was in for Declan John, Kieran Lee was the only other alteration as he replaced Josh Sheehan in midfield.

With the television cameras rolling and the action underway, it was Burton who created the first chance of the evening as Cameron Borthwick-Jackson took aim from the edge of the area with three minutes played, seeing a shot deflect behind for a corner which ultimately came to nothing.

Bolton responded well and had their first effort three minutes later, with Ben Garratt making a routine save as Antoni Sarcevic met a corner from Isgrove.

Isgrove was the creative spark again on the quarter-hour, bursting through the middle and playing the ball to Kieran Lee. He, in turn, found Afolayan, whose shot from just inside the box trickled wide.

Sarcevic had an attempt blocked as he latched on to a quickly-taken free-kick, moments before Joe Powell forced a smart save out of Dixon at his near post with what would go on to be their only shot on target in the entire game.

Captain Sarcevic was frustrated twice more at the midway point of the half, seeing his first effort blocked before floating a rebound over the crossbar.

Gethin Jones volleyed straight at Garratt from the next attack, before controversy struck as Lee had the ball in the net only to have his celebrations cut short as the protestations of the visiting players influenced referee Smith and his assistant to chalk off the goal for an offside against Doyle.

Wanderers continued to press for the breakthrough, with a frustrated Sarcevic firing over just after the half-hour, while the final opening of the half saw Afolayan's just run the ball out of play as he cut it back to Isgrove in a central position.

It took a while for the second period to settle, with Bolton enjoying large spells of possession without really threatening in the final third - with Albion rarely troubling their hosts at the other end.

In fact, 64 minutes had been played before the first sight of goal arrived following the restart and Bolton couldn't have come much closer.

Recycling an over-hit cross from Sarcevic, Gordon played the ball inside for Afolayan, who dropped a shoulder before curling a superb effort which clipped the outside of Garratt's left-hand post.

Tom Hamer reminded the Trotters that they weren't going to have everything their own way as he skied a strike midway through the half, shortly before Sarcevic curled over from the edge of the box after he was fed by Jones.

Jones himself was next to be denied, receiving Doyle's quickly-taken corner and seeing a bending right-footed attempt parried away at the near post by Garratt.

Wanderers almost shot themselves on the foot on 73 minutes as Johnny Smith pounced on a wayward pass from Santos, but Dixon appeared to have his angles covered as the ball flashed inches wide.

Sarcevic spurned yet another opportunity when he headed over three minutes later, while Gordon saw a goalbound effort blocked by Michael Bostwick as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

Burton were reduced to 10 men four minutes from time as Brayford, already on a booking, was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Afolayan.

Bolton pushed forward in desperate search of a late winner and almost found it when substitute Elias Kachunga prodded wide from close range in the final minute of normal time, before half-hearted appeals for a penalty following a shove on Delfouneso went unheard by the officials.

There was time for one final chance, coming in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time, but it wasn't to be for Wanderers as Gordon's cross from the left was headed wide by Lee, with Isgrove unable to grow enough to direct it goalwards in behind.

Somehow, despite one of their most dominant displays in recent times, Wanderers failed to find a way through and were made to settle for a 0-0 draw that the 199 travelling Burton supporters celebrated with great delight.

Bolton must now overcome their disappointment, recover sufficiently and go again when they make the long journey to Ipswich Town on Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, Gordon, Johnston, Santos, Jones, Lee, Williams, Afolayan (Delfouneso 88), Sarcevic, Isgrove, Doyle (Kachunga 73)
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Tutte, Brockbank, Thomason, Baptiste
Booked: Williams, Johnston

Burton Albion: Garratt, Brayford, Bostwick, Shaughnessy, Hamer, Lakin, Borthwick-Jackson, Smith (Blake-Tracy 88), Powell (Morris 65), Akins, Hemmings (Chapman 65)
Subs Not Used: Balcombe, Patrick, Amadi Holloway, Taylor
Booked: Hamer, Akins, Brayford, Shaughnessy
Sent Off: Brayford

Referee: Joshua Smith
Attendance: 13,305

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 >>


Who is Bolton's 2021/22 Player of the Year?
32.58% Oladapo Afolayan
30.96% Gethin Jones
21.72% Ricardo Almeida Santos
5.51% Declan John
4.05% Kieran Lee
3.08% MJ Williams
1.78% Joel Dixon
0.32% George Johnston