Craig Dawson’s first goal for Wanderers helped the club record a well-earned point at Derby County on Tuesday night with a 1-1 draw.
The centre half headed past Derby goalkeeper Adam Legzdins just before the half time whistle to hand Bolton the lead, however the Rams battled back to earn a draw when Jamie Ward scored his tenth goal of the campaign in the 81st minute.
Manager Dougie Freedman made four changes from the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Craig Davies was rewarded with his first start for Wanderers after coming off the bench in the past two games to score against both Forest and Burnley respectively.
Welsh international Sam Ricketts slotted in at left back for the suspended Marcos Alonso. The two other changes saw David Ngog and Darren Pratley come into the fray for the visitors.
Hosts Derby, who drew 0-0 with Wolves at Pride Park on Saturday made one alteration, Michael Jacobs coming in for Will Hughes.
The Rams began brightly and inside two minutes frontman Jamie Ward found space inside the Wanderers box, however a courageous block from skipper Zat Knight prevented the striker from testing Adam Bogdan.
Four minutes later and Bolton had their first sight on goal, a long ball forward was cleverly taken down by Frenchman Ngog, with his back to goal the former Liverpool striker turned to shoot but was unable to put any power on his strike resulting in a comfortable save for goalkeeper Legzdins.
For the following twenty minutes both teams were still looking to get in their stride and take control of the game with play interrupted following an injury to defender Kieran Freeman after a collision in the Bolton penalty area.
The Rams right back was quickly withdrawn just before the half hour mark with Ben Davies coming on in his place.
And Davies made an immediate impact, whipping a delightful cross from the right flank for the incoming run of Craig Bryson to head narrowly wide.
Bolton’s second sight on goal again came from Ngog, collecting possession on the left hand side of the Derby penalty box he took aim for goal but again couldn’t get any venom in his shot.
After a half which saw very few chances the visitors sent the travelling contingency from Bolton wild as defender Dawson scored his first goal for the club after joining on loan from WBA last month.
Wanderers won a free-kick 30-yards from goal on the left hand side which was expertly swung to the back post for Dawson to climb above the Derby defence and flick home. The half-time whistle followed two minutes later with Freedman’s men leading at the break.
Bolton raced out of the traps after the interval and quickly looked for a second when Chris Eagles skipped past two Derby challenges and lined up well with Ngog who hit a looping volley over the bar.
The contest once again became tight with both teams in search of the second goal of the evening for different reasons.
Hungarian custodian Adam Bogdan, who received praise from his manager following his display at the City Ground last weekend pulled off a magnificent save on the hour park to deny former PNE midfielder Paul Coutts.
Coutts found space on the edge of the penalty box to hit a rasping shot which was destined to nestle in the far corner; however Hungarian international Bogdan got his fingertips to the ball to deny a certain goal.
In the 69th minute Bolton made their first change of the evening, Ngog replaced by number 14 Kevin Davies.
Wanderers continued to defend courageously, with blue shirts throwing their bodies on the line to prevent Derby having sight on Bogdan’s goal.
After heavy pressure, Derby striker Connor Salmon manoeuvred his away from the Bolton defence to strike from a tight angle wide.
Both managers made changes immediately after Sammon’s effort, Craig Davies withdrawn after a tireless shift in attack for Marvin Sordell whilst Coutts was replaced by Theo Robinson for the Rams.
With nine minutes to play Derby hit Bolton with a cruel blow, striker Ward arrived unnoticed at the back post to send a low header past Bogdan from Jacobs’ delivery.
But the drama was far from over and Bolton responded well from the goal and attacked Legzdins goal, with a penalty box scramble occurring after a superb corner from set piece specialist Spearing, however the ball was hooked away by a white shirt.
Next it was Derby’s turn to attack from a corner with four minutes remaining of the 90, but Bogdan showed quick reactions to beat away a close range header from substitute Robinson.
With both teams continuing to push for the winning goal, referee Ward blew the full time whistle as Freedman’s men secured back to back draws away from home in the east Midlands in the past four days.
Derby: Legzdins, Freeman (Davies,29), Keogh, Brayford, Hoganson, Coutts (Robinson, 77) Hendrick, Bryson, Jacobs, Sammon, Ward. Unused subs: Fielding, Bennett, Hanson, Doyle, Gjokaj.
Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Dawson, Ricketts, Spearing, Pratley, Chung-Yong, Eagles, (M Davies, 84) Ngog (K Davies, 69) C Davies (Sordell, 79). Unused subs: Lonergan, Holden, Wheater, De Ridder.