Report: Bolton 1-0 Huddersfield
Wanderers recorded their fourth consecutive home victory with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town at Macron Stadium.
Craig Davies’ fifth goal of the campaign half way through the second half proved to be the difference on the afternoon, with the striker having earlier hit the crossbar from close range.
Huddersfield did enjoy opportunities of their own during the clash, but a number of impressive saves by Andrew Lonergan kept them at bay as the Whites picked up all three points.
Wanderers named an unchanged side to the team who started against Blackpool last weekend, while Adam Bogdan took his place amongst the Bolton substitutes for the first time since sustaining a hand injury back in September.
Following a minute’s silence in memory of Roy Hartle, the game began in tempestuous fashion with Grant Holt testing Lonergan early on with a curling effort from just inside the area which the shot stopper scooped to safety.
The visitors continued in a similar vein, with Josh Vela forced under pressure by Sean Scannell soon after, but Wanderers were soon on the attack themselves as Lee Chung-Yong found Craig Davies who in turn just failed to get his shot on.
The pressure from Huddersfield continued, with Scannell proving himself a nuisance as Chris Powell’s side pushed forward in their numbers.
Wanderers almost snatched the lead however with 11 minutes on the clock as Darren Pratley fed Craig Davies in the area, but the striker’s effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar with Alex Smithies beaten.
The chance appeared to rejuvenate the Whites, with Davies in particular causing problems in and around the Huddersfield backline.
Up the other end of the field meanwhile, Scannell attempted to drill the ball home through a crowded penalty area, but the body of Neil Danns blocked the Huddersfield man’s effort at the death.
As the half wore on, neither side were really testing their respective goalkeepers with the game falling into a lull of sorts.
It wasn’t to be until the half hour mark that Wanderers enjoyed their next real opportunity as Davies was upended whilst in on goal, with the forward adamant that the foul was committed inside the area.
Unfortunately for Bolton however, the referee deemed it just outside the box with Liam Feeney’s resulting free-kick flying over the crossbar.
Scannell, a constant threat on the left flank, caused havoc with 11 minutes of the half remaining as he skipped past Tim Ream and powered in on goal, but his eventual ball across the face of goal eluded any of his teammates, much to Wanderers’ relief.
As the clock ran down, Bolton were the team in the ascendancy but were struggling to penetrate through the Terriers’ defence with the Whites being restricted mainly to long range efforts as Huddersfield stood firm.
With the game heading into added time at the end of the first period, Wanderers were the side asking the questions with Max Clayton, Lee Chung-Yong and Dorian Dervite all enjoying opportunities.
Huddersfield on the other hand also enjoyed a chance to open the scoring, with the fist of Andrew Lonergan denying Nahki Wells from a tight angle while former Bolton loanee Jacob Butterfield fired narrowly wide of the far post.
Huddersfield were the only side to make a change at the break, with Murray Wallace coming into the fray in place of Joel Lynch.
The visitors were to enjoy the first clear cut opportunity of the second period too, with Butterfield being denied from close range by a superb reflex save by Lonergan with 48 minutes gone.
Grant Holt was next to test the Bolton keeper, with Lonergan having to be on his guard to put the frontman off his stride with him seemingly certain to slot the ball home after collecting a smart through ball.
Having withstood some early pressure from the Terriers, Wanderers came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock with 63 minutes gone as Davies’ half volley took a wicked deflection and flew agonisingly wide of the post with the Macron faithful already on their feet.
The Whites did not have to wait long however to finally open the scoring, with Craig Davies given the simple task of tapping home from 12 yards following good work from Feeney on the right flank in the 68th minute.
Deserved given Wanderers’ dominance in the possession, Feeney almost had a goal of his own soon after as goalscorer Davies turned provider, but Smithies was out quickly to smother the ball to safety with the winger lurking.
With time ticking away, Wanderers pushed forward in a bid to put distance between themselves and the Terriers, while the visitors themselves were certainly not a beaten team just yet with Powell’s men breaking on the counter attack on numerous occasions.
Rob Hall was introduced into the mix in place of Liam Feeney with four minutes to go, with the winger’s free-kick being cleared away at the death soon after his introduction.
With four minutes of added time indicated, Wanderers pushed forward in a bid to extend their lead with Danns’ long range effort fired straight down the throat of Smithies, but the one goal was to be enough as the referee blew for full time.