Report: Bolton 1-1 Leeds
Eidur Gudjohnsen’s first goal since returning to the club earned Wanderers a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Leeds United at Macron Stadium.
The Icelander drew the Whites level shortly after the restart from the penalty spot after Darren Pratley had been fouled in the area, cancelling out Rodolph Austin’s third minute spot-kick for the visitors.
Bolton did push in search of a winning goal with Gudjohnsen coming close to a second, but the game ended all square at the final whistle, extending Wanderers' unbeaten run on home soil to eight games.
There were three changes for Wanderers from the starting XI against Wigan a week earlier, with Andrew Lonergan, Matt Mills and Gudjohnsen replacing Adam Bogdan, David Wheater and Zach Clough respectively.
The visitors came out of the blocks strongly and made the perfect start with just three minutes on the clock as Lonergan was adjudged to have brought down Sam Byram in the area, with Rodolph Austin dispatching the resulting spot-kick with ease.
The tempestuous start to proceedings continued, with Wanderers’ frustration evident following Leeds’ early opener as they fought to bring themselves back onto level terms as quickly as possible.
It was almost two for Neil Redfearn’s side in the ninth minute of the clash as Steve Morison found himself unmarked six yards out from goal, but the Leeds man’s header was palmed away by the fingertips of Lonergan.
Tempers were visibly flaring as Bolton pushed for a route back into the game, with Liam Feeney and Liam Trotter causing problems in and around the Leeds box including a goalbound effort being deflected away at the death from the latter.
Emile Heskey came close with 20 minutes gone as he attempted to connect first-time with Josh Vela’s curled cross into the box, only for the Bolton frontman to be intercepted at the crucial moment with Gudjohnsen unable to turn home the loose ball.
Gudjohnsen came within inches of opening his Wanderers account three minutes later as he unleashed a free-kick from 20 yards out, but his effort rippled the side netting with parts of Macron Stadium believing it had found the back of the net.
With each passing attack however, Bolton were growing into the clash and came agonisingly close with 16 minutes of the half remaining as Marco Silvestri palmed away Matt Mills’ header from range, with the keeper then denying Trotter on the rebound.
Trotter then turned provider moments later, with Feeney unable to make the contact required to trouble Silvestri from a tight angle.
Having failed to really trouble Lonergan following their early goal, Leeds were handed a glorious opportunity to double their advantage in the 38th minute as the ball fell into the path of an unmarked Morison ten yards out, but a well-timed challenge from Mills denied him the chance to strike at goal.
It was Wanderers who ended the first period the strongest though, with Danns’ drilled free-kick being scrambled away from goal in added time the last action of the half.
With no changes at the break for either side, it was to be Leeds who came out of the block quickest with Morison chasing a downfield ball into the box, but the Bolton defence scooped it away from the path of the Leeds man.
Having pushed throughout the first period though, Wanderers were finally given a glorious opportunity in the 49th minute as Pratley was upended in the area, with Gudjohnsen stepping up to coolly open his account for the club with a well-taken penalty.
No more than Bolton deserved given their exploits, the goal seemed to be just what the Whites needed with Neil Lennon’s men forcing their way forward in their numbers in a bid to complete the comeback.
Not to be completed deterred however, the visitors very nearly found themselves back in front as Luke Murphy’s drilled shot from the edge of the box flew narrowly wide of the upright in the 55th minute.
From then however, the tempo of the game dropped slightly as both sides composed themselves, with both goalkeepers finding themselves isolated somewhat as most play was contested in the middle of the field.
Wanderers made their first change in the 66th minute, with David Wheater coming on in place of Dorian Dervite, with Craig Davies entering the fray as he replaced Trotter shortly after.
Chances however were few and far between as the game entered its final quarter, but with time ticking down it was Wanderers in the ascendancy with Gudjohnsen seeing a thunderous volley deflect away from the goalmouth.
Davies was next to try his luck, with the striker’s cross-cum-shot from a tight angle being parried away from goal by Silvestri with a number of Bolton bodies lurking.
With five minutes remaining, Byram looked set to capitalise on a lapse in concentration at the back as he twisted his way into the six yard box, but the Leeds man put his effort wide under pressure from Danns.
There was time for academy graduate Tom Walker to make his Bolton bow as the game entered three minutes of added time with Wanderers piling forward to snatch a winning goal, but their efforts were in vain as the game ended all square.