Report: Millwall 0-1 Bolton
Darren Pratley’s thumping effort midway through the second period capped a solid performance from Bolton, as they extended their unbeaten run to seven with a narrow victory over Millwall in the capital.
The headline team news saw Eidur Gudjohnsen in from off in one of three changes to the side that had previously played out a goalless draw with Ipswich at Macron Stadium.
Josh Vela was also back in the starting line-up after recovering from a bout of flu, whilst Robert Hall was given the green light to start his first league game since May.
The Bolton team contained three ex-Millwall players – Liam Feeney starting, with Liam Trotter and Conor Wilkinson on the bench.
The fluidity of Wanderers’ play was evident from the get –go.
Lee Chung-Yong was at the fulcrum of a steady wave of Bolton attacks, one of which resulted in Darren Pratley firing an early warning shot wide of the near post via a deflection.
Hall’s resultant corner kick was then met by the head of Ream who glanced a header straight at Millwall stopper David Forde.
Whilst Bolton continued to weave pretty patterns, Millwall’s best opportunities very much came from route one football.
On 22 minutes Andy Wilkinson’s searching ball out from right-back released Lee Gregory, who from the right channel fired across the face of goal.
That chance livened the home fans and their side seeked to seize the initiative.
But on the half hour, Gudjohnsen, who was now operating at the tip of a midfield diamond, superbly released Ream on the left side. The American in turn then slipped a neat ball in to Hall, who in one movement pivoted and shot tamely at Forde.
Another Bolton chance soon followed.
Lee assumed possession just inside the Millwall half, before slaloming beyond a series of defenders and teeing up Darren Pratley, whose shot was beaten away by Forde.
Hall was then sent tumbling in the area after nipping in front of Alan Dunne, though referee Stuart Attwell waved away the Bolton appeals.
Just prior to the interval, Angel flashed a volley wide of Andrew Lonergan’s post.
The second half started at a breakneck tempo and a moment of controversy.
Another raking ball forward once again released Gregory, who after poking the ball beyond the onrushing Lonergan was seemingly clipped on the whitewash of the area. The home fans wanted a penalty and red card – they got neither, as Wanderers scrambled clear.
Up the other end, Gudjohnsen slipped between two defenders and plucked a through ball out of the air with aplomb. In space, his clipped cross was aimed towards the back post where the onrushing pair of Pratley and Feeney failed to turn the ball goalwards.
Millwall mixed things up, introducing a couple of substitutions in an attempt to add a different dimension to their attacking play.
Bolton gradually began to turn the screw, with Gudjohnsen and Lee lighting up the midfield areas.
On the hour mark and following his introduction in place of Gudjohnsen, Trotter chanced his arm from all of 30 yards, with Forde scrambling a dipping shot away at the second attempt.
Hall then struck the base of the post after a mazy run and pull back from the left channel from the effervescent Lee.
And it came as no surprise when Bolton finally broke the deadlock on 67 minutes.
A wonderfully weighted through ball from Lee released Pratley, who after initially shaping to shoot shrugged off the attentions of a covering defender, before steadying himself and crashing the ball in off the underside of the bar.
It was no more than Wanderers deserved.
Millwall huffed and puffed in an attempt to find an equaliser.
And late on Martyn Woolford latched on to a Gregory flick, though when in the clear saw a low drive expertly blocked Lonergan, as Bolton held on for three point.