Report: Middlesbrough 1-0 Bolton
Bolton Wanderers were edged out by a solitary goal against promotion-chasing Middlesbrough at The Riverside Stadium.
In a game of few chances, the decisive goal came midway through the opening half through Albert Adomah.
The Trotters were combative and resolute at the back and despite threatening late on in the piece, ultimately failed to break down the home side’s rearguard.
Neil Lennon rang the changes for the trip to Teesside, making no less than six changes to the starting line-up that had previously tasted defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Manchester United loanee Ben Amos came in for Andrew Lonergan, who remained sidelined following a bout of concussion.
Elsewhere, Dean Moxey, Emile Heskey, Eidur Gudjohnsen, David Wheater and Saidy Janko were all in from the off.
The early throes of the game were somewhat scrappy, though for large periods Bolton penned the hosts very much inside their own territory.
Chances were very much at a premium, though Bolton’s first effort on goal came via a set piece that was cleverly won by captain Gudjohnsen.
Barry Bannan swung in the kick, with Dorian Dervite rising to head over the bar.
Middlesbrough responded, as Patrick Bamford blazed over the top after Adam Reach had made inroads down the left flank.
At around the 25-minute mark the game began to open up.
Bolton threatened with a couple of route one passes up to Emile Heskey, with Gudjohnsen and Janko both buzzing in and around the loose balls.
Up at the other end Amos was worked for the first time on the half hour. Grant Leadbitter fed Bamford, though the on-loan Manchester United stopper thrust out a glove to tip his shot wide of the far post.
The home side continued to press forward and duly broke the deadlock on 33 minutes.
Lee Tomlin was the architect, slipping a ball through the Bolton backline to Adomah who poked the ball under the onrushing body of Amos.
Bolton did respond, as Janko stung the palm of Dimi Konstantopoulos from distance after some sloppy defending from the hosts.
Middlesbrough probably should have double their lead towards the end of the half. An intricate passing move eventually saw the ball bobbling around in the Bolton area, with Bamford’s shot on the stretch clearing the bar.
The second period started as the first had ended, with Middlesbrough spurning another opportunity to add to their tally.
Dorian Dervite’s clearance cannoned into George Friend, he then squared the ball for Bamford who dragged a left-footed shot wide of a scrambling Amos and his far post.
Bolton’s primary threat continued to come from set pieces, as Heskey nodded a corner straight down the throat of Konstantopoulos
On 70 minutes Zach Clough was introduced in place of Gudjohnsen in an attempt to mix up Bolton’s attacking play.
And Clough’s quick footwork inside the area was of immediate concern for the hosts, though his pull back from the byline was eventually gobbled up by Konstantopoulos.
Adam Le Fondre was then thrown on as Bolton continued to knock on the door.
Feeney steered a header wide at the back post from Bannan’s cross as hosts began to look somewhat nervy.
But in the end Middlesbrough would hold on for three points and almost added to their lead when Tomlin's free-kick came back off the bar.