Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

  • April 09, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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MJ Williams scored his first Bolton goal as Wanderers left it late to come from behind and grab a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Williams, who had failed to hit the net in any of his previous 61 appearances since arriving on a free transfer from Blackpool in February 2021, slotted home an equaliser in the final minute of normal time after the Owls had failed to deal with Aaron Morley's corner.

The visitors, who were backed by 5,134 travelling supporters at the University of Bolton Stadium, had earlier taken a 66th-minute lead as Jordan Storey tapped in from close range after the hosts had also struggled to deal with a set-piece delivery.

Ian Evatt made three changes to the team that started against Portsmouth on Tuesday as Williams, Will Aimson and Elias Kachunga came in for Ricardo Almeida Santos, Kyle Dempsey and Oladapo Afolayan, the latter of whom was somewhat surprisingly named amongst the substitutes.

With Santos unlikely to feature again this season due to a hamstring problem, Jones took hold of the captain's armband in his absence.

Once play got underway, Wednesday quickly found their stride and had a number of opportunities to break the deadlock inside the opening 10 minutes.

First, Lee Gregory raced forward on the counter and cut the ball back to former Wanderers loanee Barry Bannan, whose first-time curling strike was parried away superbly by James Trafford in the home goal.

Bannan was involved again in the next attack, this time bending an effort wide after Nathaniel Mandez-Laing had squared the play, moments before he tried a third attempt on goal but this time only finding the gloves of Trafford.

Wednesday should have taken the lead midway through the half as Declan John was dispossessed by Jack Hunt. He picked out an unmarked Mendez-Laing 12 yards from goal, but he scuffed his shot into the ground and behind.

Bolton's first venture forward arrived with 24 minutes on the clock as Dion Charles pounced on a poor pass from Storey and saw an effort blocked, while Kieran Sadlier's follow-up was tipped over by goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

George Byers fired straight at Trafford as the Owls immediately went down the other end, shortly before the Wanderers 'keeper made an outstanding diving save to his right to push away a goalbound header from Mendez-Laing, who had rose highest to connect with Bannan's free-kick.

Hunt dragged wide with less than 10 minutes of the half to play but for all their attacking dominance, Wednesday should have gone in behind at the break as Morley's free-kick from the right found an unmarked Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, but he couldn't direct his header on target.

Then, with the final attack of the half, the visitors would have taken the lead as they broke through Marvin Johnson. His pass into the feet of Mendez-Laing looked certain to bring the opening goal, only for Aimson to slide in at the death to block the goalbound effort and ensure the teams went in goalless at the break.

There were no changes to either team as the players returned for the second period, which began with Charles shooting wide from an acute angle after Sadlier's cross caused momentary panic for Peacock-Farrell.

Charles had the ball in the net soon after the hour, only to be denied by the assistant referee's offside flag, while Aimson headed over soon thereafter as he got on the end of a corner from Morley.

After enjoying their best spell of the game, Bolton then fell behind on 64 minutes after they failed to deal with a corner into the box and Storey tapped in from close range, despite appeals for an offside against the Owls man.

Harlee Dean headed over from another Bannan corner on 70 minutes as Wednesday looked to have found a weakness in the Trotters backline, shortly before Johnson saw a strike parried back into dangerous territory by Trafford, only for Bannan to pull his rebound inches wide of the far post.

Bannan had been involved in almost everything Wednesday had created throughout the afternoon and he was the provider again with five minutes to play, playing a short corner to Sam Hutchinson, whose cross was headed wide by Callum Paterson.

Bolton went into the game having scored an EFL-high 22 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches and they added to that figure in the final minute of normal time, as Morley's corner wasn't cleared and Williams pounced to slide home his first goal for the club.

Five minutes of time was added for stoppages but neither side could create any more chances in the final third, as they were both made to settle for a point apiece.

The draw leaves Wednesday 5th in the League One table and on course for a play-off place, which is almost mathematically beyond Wanderers - who end the afternoon up one to 10th place, 12 points off the top-six with an inferior goal difference and four games still to play.

They return to action on Good Friday when they face relegation-threatened Doncaster Rovers at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, John (Gordon 64), Johnston, Aimson, Jones, Sadlier (Amaechi 73), Morley, Williams, Kachunga, Bodvarsson (Bakayoko 56), Charles
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Afolayan, Thomason, Baptiste
Booked: Johnston, Jones, Gordon, Kachunga
Goals: Williams 90

Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell, Storey, Dean, Hutchinson, Hunt, Byers (Paterson 62), Bannan, Luongo, Johnson, Mendez-Laing (Berahino 62), Gregory
Subs Not Used: Wildsmith, Palmer, Iorfa, Shodipo, Dele-Bashiru
Booked: Dean, Hunt
Goals: Storey 66

Referee: Carl Brook
Attendance: 19,164

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