Report: Burnley 1-1 Wanderers
Dynamic midfielder Darren Pratley rounded off a well-worked Wanderers move late in the first half with a cool finish to cancel out Danny Ings' opener.
The Whites, backed by near 2,500 supporters at Turf Moor, showed positive signs throughout the game and were unlucky not to take all three points back to the Reebok when substitute Craig Davies forced Burnley stopper Tom Heaton to pull off a magnificent save late on.
Boss Dougie Freedman handed competitive debuts to Jermaine Beckford, Marc Tierney and Alex Baptiste in the early kick-off at Burnley. ~
South Korean international Chung Yong Lee also started for the Whites, alongside former Burnley winger Chris Eagles.
Meanwhile, hosts Burnley named new recruit David Jones in their starting line-up, after his move from Championship rivals Wigan Athletic.
The opening five minutes gave a real flavour of what supporters should expect to see in the Sky Bet Championship this season with a frantic start at Turf Moor.
Both teams were looking to attack from Mark Clattenburg’s first whistle, with the hosts looking dangerous down the right hand side through Scottish winger Ross Wallace.
However, Freedman’s side, backed by a strong Reebok following, were equally as threatening as the Clarets on the counter attack, with former Burnley man Chris Eagles always looking for the ball.
In the 17th minute, Bolton created the game’s first opportunity after a free flowing passing move resulted in fans’ favourite Medo Kamara driving a 25-yard effort inches wide of the top left hand corner.
Five minutes down the line Burnley came close to scoring the first goal of the Championship season.
Full back Kieran Tripper found the feet of striker Ings inside the penalty area with a direct cross, but with his body positioned at an awkward angle, the former Southampton man couldn’t keep his first time strike on target.
The 21-year-old’s luck in front of goal changed for the better in the 26th minute as Burnley took the lead in a heated North West derby.
Holding off the challenge of centre half David Wheater, Ings found himself the right side of Bolton defence and with a scuffed finish, which seemed to take a deflection off Wheater, the ball trickled beyond Bogdan into an empty net.
Wanderers didn’t let their heads drop after falling behind, and 12 minutes later were back on level terms, as Pratley sent travelling support housed in The David Fishwick Stand into raptures.
The move began when South Korean international Lee collected possession on the left hand side. Quickly moving play into the middle to Pratley, the attacking midfielder played the ball on once more to an unmarked Eagles on the right channel.
Taking a sublime first touch to take the ball out of his feet, Eagles played an inch-perfect cross back to Pratley, who was now inside the penalty area, to cutely finish past Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal.
The Whites confidence grew after their equaliser, with Pratley, Eagles and Lee all now finding room in midfield as they search to find the perfect pass for lone striker Beckford. The half time whistle went just after 1pm with the score 1-1 at Turf Moor.
With all to play for in the second period, the final 45 started slower than the opening, with the first chance carved out in the 55th minute when Junior Stanislas tried his luck with a long range free-kick, but Bogdan reacted well to turn away for a corner.
In the 62nd minute, Bolton made their first change of the afternoon, as Eagles, who seemed to be limping, was taken off, with French man David Ngog replacing Wanderers’ number seven.
The change saw Ngog make his first appearance for the club since sustaining a shoulder injury at Leicester City late last season.
There was little to report in the second half, with both teams battling to take control of the game with little joy.
A goal mouth scramble inside the Burnley six-yard box nearly resulted in Wanderers finding the all-important third goal.
After an inviting corner from Lee, a number of white shirts including Wheater and Zat Knight looked to find the finishing touch but Burnley managed to scramble the ball away.
Freedman’s second change came with ten minutes to go, Craig Davies replacing frontman Beckford after a tireless shift from the former Leeds United star.
Davies’ impact was immediate, as he made sure Burnley shot stopper Heaton was aware of his arrival with a thunderous right footed strike from 30-yards out which was pushed just around the post.
Despite a couple of half chances falling Burnley’s way, Bolton were in the ascendency as Kamara looked to better his first half effort with another ambitious long range effort, this time whistling past the far post.
The full time whistle blew with the score finishing 1-1 in the opening Championship game of the season, as the Whites now move on to Tuesday night's trip to Shrewsbury Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup.