Report Bolton 0-2 Derby
A goal either side of half time saw Wanderers slip to a 2-0 defeat at home to Derby County.
Andrew Lonergan had kept out an early penalty kick from Chris Martin, but the striker had his name on the scoresheet shortly before half time as he converted Cyrus Christie’s cross and doubled his tally 12 minutes after the restart.
Wanderers pushed in a bid to pull themselves back into the clash, but their efforts were to be in vain as the Rams ran out winners at Macron Stadium.
Wanderers welcomed Kevin McNaughton back into the starting eleven following his spell on the sidelines through injury, whilst Owen Garvan also came in from the off for the Whites.
Derby were the first side to really threaten inside the opening minutes of the game with a number of promising runs into the Bolton penalty area, but their efforts were to prove fruitless early on.
Wanderers themselves were to enjoy the first real opportunity of the clash though with three minutes gone as Liam Feeney fed Joe Mason, but the latter’s shot was deflected over the crossbar with Derby keeper Lee Grant well and truly beaten.
The visitors however were handed the perfect opportunity to take the lead themselves with eight minutes gone as Craig Bryson was fouled in the area, but Chris Martin was unable to capitalise from the spot as Andrew Lonergan guessed correctly to keep the ball out.
A save which visibly boosted Wanderers, the home side looked menacing and almost had a goal in the 15th minute as Lee Chung-Yong fed Mason who struck the ball from an acute angle, but his driven effort took a deflection on the way through and rippled the side netting.
With the pressure building from Bolton, Chung-Yong himself enjoyed a chance as he hit the ball blind-sighted through a crowd of Wanderers and Derby bodies, but the ball was somehow scrambled away from danger.
With the Whites asking questions in front of goal as both Feeney and Spearing came close to breaking the deadlock, it looked to be that the opener was imminent and the Rams almost had it against the run of play, but Dean Moxey cleared Martin’s effort off the line at the death.
Just after the half hour mark, the visitors proceeded to enjoy another chance as Jamie Ward cut inside and attempted to curl the ball into the bottom corner of the net, only to see his effort drift inches wide.
Jordon Ibe was next to test Wanderers’ resolve, with Lonergan being forced to awkwardly punch his dangerous cross away from goal with Martin lurking in and around the penalty spot.
Having started to threaten, Derby proceeded to take the lead with 38 minutes on the clock as Martin collected Cyrus Christie’s pacey cross from the right flank and poked the ball beyond the Bolton goalkeeper.
A cruel blow to Wanderers, Dougie Freedman’s side pushed in a bid to pull themselves level before the half time whistle but their efforts were in vain as the first period ended with the Rams in front.
Having been the orchestrator in Derby’s opener, Christie almost had his own name on the score sheet within four minutes of the restart as he powered goalwards, but Jay Spearing was on his guard to scoop the ball from the feet of the full-back and clear Wanderers’ lines.
Despite the visitors starting the half strongly however, the Whites were soon back on the attack with Feeney proving himself a nuisance and Mark Davies causing problems for the Derby defence with a number of mazy runs in on goal.
Lonergan was again called into action shortly after as he forced Ibe’s shot into the side netting, but not to be deterred, the Rams had a second with 57 minutes gone as Martin broke free of the Bolton defence before slotting the ball beyond the Whites’ keeper.
Buoyed by their second, Derby pushed forward in search of another goal with Ibe slamming the ball into a crowd of Bolton bodies while Will Hughes also saw his effort blocked from the edge of the box.
Dougie Freedman threw both Craig Davies and Neil Danns into the mix in a bid to pull Wanderers back into the clash and the former almost forced Camp into mistake as the keeper fumbled his shot, but the Derby shot-stopper recovered to scoop the ball to safety.
Steve McClaren’s side almost had a third with 16 minutes remaining as Ibe forced Lonergan into one-handed save from a tight angle, but the keeper was on his guard to keep the shot out.
With time running out, Wanderers threw men forward as they went in search of a goal to bring themselves into contention once more and almost had it as Danns’ free-kick was tipped over the crossbar by Camp, but Derby held out to secure all three points at BL6.