Report: Bolton 3-1 Millwall
Bolton Wanderers recorded their first home win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Millwall at the Reebok Stadium.
Rob Hall had opened the scoring early on in the game, only to see his effort cancelled out by Jermaine Easter just before the half hour mark.
Not to be deterred however, the Whites hit back through Jermaine Beckford two minutes before the break before Andre Moritz made sure of the points with his first goal for the club a minute from time.
Manager Dougie Freedman made one change to the side that won at Bournemouth last time out, with Hall replacing David Ngog in the starting line-up.
There was also a place on the bench for young defender Oscar Threlkeld, whilst striker Craig Davies returned to the match day squad following a spell on the sidelines.
The start of the game was met with a torrential downpour, but the weather wasn’t to dampen Wanderers’ spirits as both Beckford and Hall tested David Forde in the Millwall goal inside the opening stages.
Having looked dangerous early on, it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken and the Whites did duly oblige in the fifth minute as Chung-Yong Lee pulled the ball back for the advancing Hall who calmly slotted home.
Following an emphatic start to proceedings the game appeared to drop in tempo somewhat with chances at a premium for both sides, but the visitors were gradually finding themselves with more possession after a barren opening period.
That possession however equated to very few clear cut opportunities, with Jimmy Abdou’s tame long range effort failing to test Andy Lonergan with 20 minutes gone.
Having failed to produce anything of note inside the opening third of the game, Millwall stunned the Reebok with 28 minutes gone as Easter found himself unmarked in the area and fired home past the Bolton keeper.
Despite falling behind, Wanderers appeared to have retaken the lead just a minute later as Beckford unleashed from an acute angle, but the striker’s effort hit the side netting with the majority of the ground already on their feet in celebration.
It was clear to see that the equaliser had breathed new life into a Millwall team that simply hadn’t looked at the races early on, with Nicky Bailey and Liam Trotter both enjoying chances to hand their side the lead as the half drew to its conclusion.
With the visitors looking the more likely to score, Wanderers were to hit them with a sucker punch with just two minutes left on the clock as Tim Ream played the ball into the feet of Beckford who calmly chipped the ball over Forde to send the Reebok into raptures and hand the Whites a half time lead.
As the second half got underway, it was evident that Wanderers weren’t going to rest on their laurels, with Hall’s lofty free-kick into the area ensuring that the Millwall defence were on their guard early on.
A hailstone storm however made playing conditions difficult, with visibility reduced and the pitch itself bearing the brunt of the downpour.
Once again, Millwall were looking threatening on the break with Easter loitering in and around the Bolton penalty area, but Wanderers were enjoying chances of their own including a curling effort from Alex Baptiste that had Forde back-peddling.
The Whites looked certain to extend their lead with 64 minutes gone as Chung-Yong played the ball into the feet of Beckford who rounded the Millwall keeper, but the striker somehow managed to put the ball into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.
The less than ideal conditions were also playing their part in the clash with Lonergan initially spilling Martyn Woolford’s cross before smothering the ball.
The introduction of former Wanderers loanee Liam Feeney appeared to work wonders for Millwall, with the winger proving himself to be a nuisance down the right flank and earning the visitors a number of corners in the process.
As the game entered its final ten minutes the Whites were living somewhat dangerously with the Lions breaking away on a number of occasions, but the attacks were quickly snuffed out by the Bolton defence.
The visitors proceeded to throw men forward in their droves as the clock ran down, but it was to be Wanderers’ afternoon as Andre Moritz made sure of the three points with just a minute to go with his first goal in Bolton colours.
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