Bolton Wanderers’ development squad produced a commendable display as they battled to a draw with Blackburn Rovers in their league clash at the County Ground on Monday night.
A strong Wanderers side including Marvin Sordell and Benik Afobe outclassed Rovers in large periods of the game but lacked the cutting edge to take all three points.
The match started slowly as both sides played with a degree of hesitance and created very little in attack.
The first opportunity for either team arrived after a quarter of an hour when Blackburn came within inches of opening the scoring.
A pacey run from Micah Evans created space for the forward to whip in an inviting ball that Osayemen Osawe glanced just over the crossbar.
The game then reverted back to being starved of goalmouth action as both defences remained resilient and frustrated the opposing attacks.
With just under ten minutes remaining in the first half, both sides fashioned chances that came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock.
The first fell to Wanderers from a free-kick. The ball was whipped in by Gregg Wylde towards the far post, Ben Hampson rose to nod the ball towards goal but saw his attempt cleared off the line.
The visitors then came close to finding the net from a free-kick in the 39th minute.
Hugo Molina curled a dangerous effort inches to the right of the far corner before the Whites created the final opportunity of the half.
The lively Sordell received possession 20 yards from goal before turning and firing a low drive that flashed across goal and just wide of the post.
Wanderers started the second period brightly as a direct approach from Alonso set up a glorious chance for Sordell.
A ball played deep from the Spaniard left only Raheem Hanley in between the striker and goalkeeper Jake Kean. Sordell outmuscled the defender before unfortunately scooping his effort high over the bar.
Rovers fought back and nearly found the elusive opening goal just before the hour mark.
A cross from Bruno Ribeiro towards Molina at the far post was well anticipated by Jay Lynch, as the goalkeeper ran from his net to block an instinctive volley by the Portuguese midfielder.
Following Lynch’s save, a period of dominance from Bolton ensued as they enjoyed the majority of the possession and limited Rovers to very little joy in the final third of the pitch, although Wanderers couldn’t quite produce clear opportunities themselves.
The closest the home side came for the remainder of the game was in the 79th minute after more inventive play from Wylde.
The winger raced past Evans before hitting an accurate cross that Afobe could only direct wide with his header, a chance that proved to be the last of the match as the game finished goalless.
Wanderers: Lynch, Riley, Alonso, McQuade, Hampson, Ream, O’Halloran, Blakeman, Sordell, Afobe, Wylde (Unused subs: Lester, Fielding, Threlkeld, Odelusi, Kelly)
Blackburn Rovers: Kean, Ribeiro, Hanley, Jorge, Anderson, O’Connell, O’Sullivan (Maclaren 37), Payne, Evans, Molina, Osawe (Haley 71) (Unused subs: Cotton, Urwin, Hands)