Report: Bolton 0-0 Ipswich
Bolton Wanderers extended their unbeaten run to six games with a hard earned point against Ipswich Town at Macron Stadium.
Heading into the clash having won their last four matches on home soil, Wanderers did enjoy opportunities to break the deadlock in the clash, but also had Andrew Lonergan to thank as the goalkeeper pulled off a number of impressive saves to deny the Tractor Boys.
Eidur Gudjohnsen also made his first appearance since rejoining the club as a second half substitute, but the Whites’ efforts were to ultimately prove fruitless as the game ended goalless.
Wanderers saw two changes to the side who started at Reading last weekend, with Craig Davies and Josh Vela being replaced by Conor Wilkinson – who made his first league start for the club – and David Wheater.
Following a feisty start to proceedings in which neither side could break through midfield, David McGoldrick tried his luck from the edge of the area, only to see Andrew Lonergan comfortably collect his effort.
Daryl Murphy was next to test the Bolton keeper, with the frontman’s looping effort from ten yards being tipped over the crossbar by Lonergan.
Wanderers themselves weren’t lying down however, with Wilkinson and Max Clayton proving themselves a nuisance in and around the Ipswich penalty area, with the latter’s close range strike being turned behind by Christophe Berra in the 15th minute.
Cole Skuse, a constant threat for the Tractor Boys, attempted to wrong-foot Lonergan shortly after with a shot from all of 30 yards, but the Bolton shot-stopper was on his guard and scooped the ball to safety.
Meanwhile, up the other end of the field, Wanderers almost had a goal themselves as Lee Chung-Yong slid the ball into the path of Tim Ream, but the defender opted to pass the ball into the path of Clayton whose effort was blocked.
The chance appeared to give the Whites some much needed vigour, with Lee in particular causing problems for the visitors in and around the penalty box, but an injury to Clayton on the half hour mark saw the introduction of Jay Spearing into the clash in place of the youngster.
The midfielder almost made the perfect start too, with his long range effort fizzling agonisingly wide of Bartosz Bialkowski’s upright with 13 minutes of the half remaining.
With the clock running down to the half time whistle, both sides enjoyed periods of possession with the visitors making the more notable opportunities to break the deadlock, but the game entered the break goalless.
With no changes for either side at the half time break, Wanderers began the second period brightly with Wilkinson causing trouble deep in Ipswich territory inside the opening minutes.
Mick McCarthy’s side were soon proving their own mettle however, with McGoldrick’s drilled free-kick bouncing around in the Bolton box with nobody able to turn home his deflected effort.
The best chance of the game so far though came with ten minutes of the second half gone as McGoldrick’s strike fell into the path of Jay Tabb, but Lonergan was to be the hero as he blocked the Ipswich man’s shot at point blank range to the relief of Wanderers.
Another injury for the Whites in the shape of Darren Pratley saw the midfielder replaced with Eidur Gudjohnsen to the delight of three sides of Macron Stadium, but yet again moments after his introduction Tabb was denied by the outstretched hand of the Bolton keeper who kept his diving header out.
The game then fell into an end-to-end frenzy, with Wheater coming close for Wanderers while McGoldrick did so for the visitors on a number of occasions in a manic period in the game.
Ipswich did then push Bolton onto the back-foot, with the Whites’ defence stood firm despite the pressure being exerted onto them by the Portman Road outfit.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, it was clear to see that neither side were happy to settle for a point with both teams pushing forward in a bid to find a late winner.
With two minutes remaining, Lonergan was called into action yet again as Murphy rose to nod home from close range, but the shot-stopper pulled off yet another superb reflex save to deny Ipswich all three points at the death.
Four minutes of added time were indicated, and with the stage set for late drama at Macron Stadium, Wanderers were left calling for a penalty kick for handball, only for the referee to remain unmoved as the game ended all square.