Report: Bolton 1-1 Sheff Wed
Bolton posted a point and extended their unbeaten run to four after drawing with Sheffield Wednesday in a lively clash at the Reebok Stadium.
Both goals came prior to half time; Jermaine Beckford opening the scoring before an Alex Baptiste own goal levelled matters.
But Bolton were forced to dig deep in a heated second half in which Owls midfielder Jose Semedo saw straight red for a late tackle on Jay Spearing.
In an attacking move, Chris Eagles replaced Darren Pratley in the starting line-up that was otherwise unchanged following the win at Birmingham prior to the international break.
The opening ten minutes were somewhat scrappy. Bolton saw more of the ball, with Owls defender Kamil Zayatte slicing a Liam Feeney cross wide of his own goal in the only event worthy of any real note.
On 13 minutes a lively run from the powerful Michail Antonio would signal a period of sustained pressure from the visitors in which they carved out three clear goal-scoring chances.
After breezing past three markers Antonio fed Giles Coke who dragged a shot wide from the right channel.
Minutes later neat interplay between Matty Fryatt and Coke saw the former thwarted from inside the area by a smart reflex save from Adam Bogdan whilst the Bolton stopper was again on hand to smuggle behind Reda Johnson’s back post header from a corner.
Bolton responded in the best possible way.
In a simple yet effective move upfield Neil Danns threaded a neat ball in behind the Wednesday defence onto which Beckford pounced. After setting himself the striker stabbed the ball beyond the onrushing Chris Kirkland to bag his second goal in as many games.
Second later Kirkland then repelled a low drive at the near post from Alex Baptiste, who was soon in the thick of the action at the other end as Wednesday drew level on 26 minutes.
After chasing down a loose ball on the left byline, Jeremy Helan swung in a delicious cross onto which a backtracking Baptiste could only head into his own goal when under pressure from Antonio.
For the remainder of the half it was the visitors who looked the more likely, though both sides would have been happy for a reprieve when referee Chris Foy brought the opening 45 to an end.
The Owls made their intentions clear at the start to the second half.
Within the opening minute of the restart Lewis Buxton’s free-kick was well held by Bogdan before Helan’s drive from the left channel was turned onto the woodwork by the Bolton stopper.
Wednesday continued to grow in confidence. Antonio volleyed Helan’s cross within inches of the post as the visitors continued to look threatening in the wide areas.
In an attempt to make inroads into what was proving to be a stubborn Sheffield Wednesday backline Chung-Yong Lee and Rob Hall on the hour mark but it continued to Wednesday asking the real questions.
Chris Eagles blazed over following Chung-Yong’s pull back whilst up the other end Owls sub Jermaine Johnson shot wide when in the clear.
One-time Bolton winger Johnson did have the ball in the net on 73 minutes, only for an offside flag to cut short the raucous away fans’ celebrations.
A lapse pass from the otherwise tidy Stephen McPhail presented Beckford with a clear-cut chance when unmarked in the area but his shot was tame and straight into Kirkland’s midriff.
The game would reach boiling point five minutes from time. Semedo flattened Jay Spearing and was immediately sent off much to his visible disbelief.
Despite the man advantage and a late seize on the Wednesday goal Bolton were forced to settle for what was ultimately a fair point.