Report: Bolton 0-1 Cardiff
Wanderers' exited the FA Cup with Budweiser at fourth round stage following a 1-0 defeat at home to Premier League outfit Cardiff City.
Following a goalless first half, the visitors proceeded to take the lead five minutes after the restart through substitute Fraizer Campbell who slotted home from close range after Andrew Lonergan lost his grip on the ball.
The Whites did throw men forward in a bid to rescue the tie, but their efforts were to prove fruitless as the Bluebirds held out to progress.
Dougie Freedman made three changes to the side which started against Reading last time out, with Craig Davies, Medo and Chris Eagles coming into the first eleven in place of David Ngog, Darren Pratley and Mark Davies.
The visitors’ side also saw the inclusion of two former Wanderers loanees in the form of Kevin McNaughton and Joe Mason.
It was clear to see from the outset that both sides were keen to mark their territory early on, with Peter Whittingham threatening for the visitors while Davies and Neil Danns combined well inside four minutes.
Cardiff would enjoy the first real opportunity of the game however with seven minutes on the clock as both Mason and Aron Gunnarsson unleashed efforts which were blocked by the Bolton backline before Chung-Yong Lee smuggled the ball to safety.
Wanderers responded almost immediately though, with Eagles’ lofty ball into the area being cleared away by Ben Turner with Davies ready to pounce while the former’s shot from the resulting corner was deflected past the post.
The chance appeared to breathe life into the hosts as Danns played a beautifully crafted ball into the path of Eagles soon after, but the winger’s pull back eluded the advancing Bolton strike force.
Following a spurt of pressure, the tempo of the game appeared to lull somewhat with the majority of play taking place in the middle third of the pitch.
Chung-Yong Lee did unleash an ambitious effort from just outside the area with 20 minutes on the clock, but the South Korean’s shot flew just wide of the upright.
With the ascendancy falling in Cardiff’s favour after a period of frustration for both sides, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side almost snatched the lead on the half hour mark as Mark Hudson’s header floated across the face of goal, but nobody was able to meet it to Wanderers’ relief.
As the half drew to its conclusion, Magnus Wolff Eikrem enjoyed a chance for the Bluebirds but couldn’t convert, while Chung-Yong spurned a glorious opportunity as he scuffed his shot through a crowded penalty area to ensure that the first period would end goalless.
Wanderers started the second period with gusto as Jay Spearing and Chung-Yong Lee combined to set up Davies for a free header, but the frontman was deemed to be offside.
No sooner had the Whites enjoyed an opportunity to take the lead however, Cardiff proceeded to open the scoring in fortuitous circumstances in the 50th minute as substitute Fraizer Campbell capitalised on a mistake from Andrew Lonergan before slotting the ball home from close range.
The goal had clearly given the Bluebirds a much needed confidence boost, with Wanderers visibly disappointed to find themselves behind following such a solid first half performance.
Campbell almost had his second of the game shortly after following chaos in the Bolton penalty area, but the striker’s header was well over the crossbar.
Having weathered a period of Cardiff pressure, Wanderers almost snatched an equaliser as Danns put David Marshall under the cosh as he forced the goalkeeper into a smart save following an impressive run.
Davies was next to test the Cardiff keeper as his shot deflected off Kevin Theophile-Catherine, but the shot stopper did well to prevent his effort from sneaking in at the near post.
Frustration was clearly setting in for the Whites as a solid Cardiff defence stood firm, but their prayers were almost answered as Marshall pulled off a superb reflex save to prevent Alex Baptiste’s curling shot which had taken a deflection off Turner finding the back of the net.
Sensing that the tide could be about to turn in Wanderers’ favour, Dougie Freedman proceeded to throw Andre Moritz and Sanmi Odelusi into the mix in a bid to pull his side level.
The introduction of the pair almost worked instant dividends as the former whipped a dangerous free-kick into the area, but Chung-Yong Lee was unable to get his header on target with the goal at his mercy.
As the clock ran down, Wanderers were left shouting for a penalty kick as Matt Mills went down inside the area but the referee was unmoved while Campbell almost put the result beyond doubt on the stroke of full time, but the striker's effort fizzed past the post.
Despite a late rally however, Wanderers' efforts to force a replay were to be in vain as the Bluebirds held out for the victory.