Report: Bolton 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Matt Mills’ second half header earned Bolton a share of the spoils against high-flying Nottingham Forest.
After being frustrated in an opening half largely dominated by Bolton, the visitors took the lead immediately after the restart through Jamie Paterson.
But a defiant home side clawed their way back into the contest, deservedly drawing level through Mills’ glancing header from an Andre Moritz set piece.
Backed by an increasingly raucous home crowd Bolton poured forward in search of the winner, which ultimately failed to materialise.
Dougie Freedman opted to stick with the two out-and-out strikers that bagged a goal apiece in the side’s previous game against Blackpool.
The three changes to the starting team saw Jay Spearing, Chung-Yong Lee and Mark Davies replace Medo Kamara, Chris Eagles and Andre Moritz.
Despite Forest skipper Andy Reid dragging an early effort wide, it was Bolton made much of the early running.
Mark Davies, at the tip of a midfield diamond, jinked beyond a marker before forcing a full-stretch save from Karl Darlow in the Forest goal. After some good retrieval work from David Ngog, Neil Danns skied the eventual follow up over the bar.
Billy Davies’ side would respond with two well-worked chances of their own.
Reid, the often at the hub of Forest’s attacking intent, released Greg Halford who from a tight angle was thwarted by the onrushing Andrew Lonergan.
Minutes later Bolton once again had Lonergan to thank for keeping the scores level, as he superbly clawed away Jamall Lascelles header from Jamie Paterson’s right-wing cross.
It was developing into an enterprising contest.
After controlling a Mark Davies pass inside the area, an unmarked Ngog failed to make sufficient contact with an attempted shot on 25 minutes.
On the half hour a flowing move down the left which involved a couple of clever flicked passes from Jermaine Beckford and Mark Davies culminated in Chung-Yong Lee crashing an effort into the side-netting from a tight angle. Much of the ground thought it was in – they were to be disappointed.
Unfortunately, in the same incident, Beckford seemed to overstretch and was forced from the field of play. Andre Moritz his replacement.
That change didn’t halt Bolton’s momentum.
Ngog once again held the ball up well with his back to goal, with his shot on the pivot looping onto the roof of the net via a deflection off Jack Hobbs.
Prior to the break Alex Baptiste meandered infield before letting fly with a shot that skidded wide of the post and Ngog headed straight at Darlow from a Tim Ream cross.
The half concluded with Bolton very much in the ascendency.
Forest tweaked their system for the start of the second half, introducing Simon Cox in place of Djamel Abdoun.
And unfortunately that switch paid immediate dividends.
Just two minutes after the restart Cox clipped a deft ball in behind the Bolton defence, on to which Paterson burst before coolly slotting beyond Lonergan.
That goal knocked Bolton out of their stride, with the 20 minutes that proceeded yielding lots of frustration and a solitary Moritz effort that was wayward from distance.
As the half wore on the visitors did their utmost to break the game up, utilising stoppages at every opportunity.
Bolton battled on. Ngog continued to cause problems and he once again saw a shot deflect through a ruck of player straight into the midriff of Darlow.
That persistence finally paid off on 75 minutes.
Moritz delivered an out-swinging free-kick from the left flank, with Mills rising high to glance the ball into the far corner.
Just as it seemed the visitors were content to shut up shop and take a point back to the Midlands, Lonergan once again produced the goods with a spectacular save.
Henri Lansbury shanked a shot into sub Darius Henderson’s path. His effort on the slide cannoned back off the post with Reid’s arrowed effort then palmed away by Lonergan.
An entertaining game would frustrating end level.