Report: Bolton 0-1 Burnley
Burnley left the Reebok Stadium with all three points thanks Sam Vokes’ second half goal in what was a closely contested Lancashire derby.
Bolton arguably shaded the opening 45 and were unlucky not to take the lead when Chung-Yong Lee hit the woodwork.
But after the restart Burnley responded and Vokes tapped home a loose ball on the hour mark to settle a contest that was played at a high tempo throughout.
David Wheater’s inclusion in the starting line-up for the first time since last September was the surprise of the team news.
The former Middlesbrough centre-half, who had spent the winter months on the sidelines following a minor knee operation, replaced Zat Knight in the heart of the defence.
The only other change saw Medo Kamara in for Mark Davies.
The game started with a real sense of an occasion, with both sides displaying plenty of zealous with little in the way of prolonged periods of quality.
Inside the opening ten minutes it was Wanderers who looked the more likely, with Chung-Yong Lee at the hub of Bolton’s positive play.
The Korean cut infield from the left before working Tom Heaton at the near post.
Minutes later Heaton was then forced to scamper back towards his own goal, after Lee’s shot following good wing play from Chris Eagles deflected and looped on to the crossbar.
The signs were good. On 11 minutes Trotter then glanced another Lee centre wide.
Whilst Burnley were penned in their own half, Sean Dyche’s men still possessed a significant threat. A reminder of that came when Danny Ings’ clever angled ball found Scott Arfield in space, who then crashed an effort wide when it seemed easier to hit the target.
The early breakneck tempo subsided somewhat, as the game reached the half-hour mark in what seemed no time.
Burnley visibly grew in confidence, though never really worked Adam Bogdan.
The only real noteworthy attempt on goal in the run up to the interval came in the way of an Eagles drive from 30 yards that dipped straight into the bread basket of Heaton.
Within seconds of the restart Bogdan was forced to react well to claw away David Jones’ low drive, as the visitors immediately upped the ante.
Ben Mee forced Bogdan into another low save before the visitors’ patience eventually paid off on the hour mark.
Arfield danced his way to the right byline before sending a low ball across the face of goal, where Vokes was on hand to tap in at the back post.
Bolton responded with a double substitution. Mark Davies and Andre Moritz replaced Liam Trotter and Medo.
While the visitors had a confidence about them, Wanderers continued to scurry away with little to show for their endeavours.
Further frustrations were bore out when Moritz was forced from the field of play clutching his upper leg. Neil Danns came on in his place.
Dyche’s side were effective in taking the sting out of the game, maintaining possession for prolonged periods.
The 80-minute mark came and went with Heaton rarely troubled.
Bolton did press forward in the final minutes, but once again the Burnley rear-guard stood strong and in doing so held on for all three points.