Report: Blackpool 0-0 Bolton
Bolton’s hunt for their first league win of the campaign will go on after a gritty and encouraging performance on the Fylde coast yielded just the one point.
In a fast-paced contest, Jermaine Beckford came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the woodwork early in the second period despite being seemingly upended inside the area in the build-up.
For spells of the game Bolton had dictated the play but were unable to work the Blackpool goalkeeper on enough occasions. They also dug in when needed and produced a resolute defensive display.
Dougie Freedman rang the changes following the weekend’s home draw with Yeovil, opting for a new-look front four that contained recent loan recruits Neil Danns and Liam Feeney.
There was also a debut for Kevin McNaughton, whose international clearance had been rushed through in the run-up to kick-off.
After the home side dictated much of the early tempo, it was Bolton who engineered the game’s first chance in somewhat bizarre circumstances.
Feeney’s right-wing cross took a huge ricochet off Jack Robinson and almost looped in under Matt Gilks’ crossbar, with the ball somehow bouncing under the crossbar before being hooked clear.
From that moment forward Bolton seemed to gain their poise. The 20 minute period that ensued saw Freedman’s side control possession, with the only criticism a lack of real clear-cut chances created.
The lively Feeney did fashion another opening following more persistent play down the right, though after pulling the ball back from the byline Jermaine Beckford could only scuff a shot goalwards.
The home side regained their composure as the game approached the half-hour mark. Stephen Dobbie saw a sweet volley disallowed for offside whilst Adam Bogdan stood up well to fist away Bobby Grant’s curling effort from 20 yards.
The pace of the game calmed down with the interval imminent. Thomas Ince, who had been marshalled well by ex-team-mate Alex Baptiste, drifted infield and let fly with a speculative drive that fizzed wide from 35 yards before some rugged defending prevented the hosts from scrambling home a free-kick.
The first half, whilst it hadn’t been fluent, certainly contained some encouraging signs for the 2,000 plus travelling Bolton fans.
Bolton started the second as they had the first and came within a lick of paint from the game’s opener.
Darren Pratley was alert to pounce on a lapse in the Blackpool rear-guard before releasing Beckford. He superbly shrugged off the challenge of Craig Cathcart before seeing a placed effort come back agonisingly off the foot of the post.
The hour-mark came and went, with plenty of endeavour but little penetration from either side.
Dobbie did dance his way into the Bolton area on one particular occasion, but when about to pull the trigger was blocked by Tim Ream at full pelt.
Chances were few and far between, but in the final throes it was Bolton who looked the more likely.
After some neat build-up a fine reflex save saw Gilks somehow claw away Beckford’s header before Ream thundered a volley over from the resulting corner kick.
In the end a share of the spoils was probably a fair result.