Report: Bolton 2-2 Wolves
Wanderers were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at Macron Stadium as they were denied all three points by a late Wolves equaliser.
The visitors had taken an early lead at a bitterly cold BL6 through Nouha Dicko, but Wanderers were back on level terms just 20 minutes later as Clough fired home directly from a free-kick.
The academy graduate added a second just two minutes later from close range - a goal which appeared to have secured all three points for Bolton - but Wanderers were denied victory in the cruelest of fashions as James Henry rifled home from distance deep into added time at the end of the second half to rescue a point for the visitors.
Adam Le Fondre made his first start for the club since moving to Macron Stadium on loan from Cardiff City earlier this week, while Zach Clough also returned following his recent injury.
Meanwhile, Wanderers’ starting XI boasted the inclusion of David Wheater as captain in place of Matt Mills.
The game started brightly, with Clough and Le Fondre linking up well for Wanderers inside the opening minute of the clash with the latter narrowly failing to connect with a through-ball.
Having failed to even push inside the home side’s half however, Wolves took a shock lead with three minutes on the clock as Nouha Dicko collected a smart threaded pass before slotting beyond Andrew Lonergan in the Bolton goal.
Although visibly shocked by the visitors’ early opener, Wanderers proceeded to see plenty of the ball as they pushed in a bid to force a quick-fire equaliser with Liam Trotter’s clever one-touch pass narrowly eluding Darren Pratley in the box.
Clough and Le Fondre were certainly causing problems for Wolves, with the on-loan frontman in particular proving himself a handful for the Molineux outfit’s backline.
It was all one way traffic from the Whites with Tim Ream running the rule on the left flank while Le Fondre’s energetic demeanour had Wolves on the backfoot with his shot from just inside the box only narrowly clearing the crossbar.
Having put the visitors under pressure from the off, Wanderers were finally rewarded in the 23rd minute as Clough fired home directly from a free-kick just outside the area to pull Bolton level.
Just two minutes later, it was two for Clough and Bolton as the diminutive forward calmly took the ball down in the six yard box before curling home from close range.
It was almost a third for Bolton straight from the restart as following a superb run from Le Fondre, Trotter unleashed from distance, with Carl Ikeme having to be on his guard to parry the ball into the air with a goal seemingly imminent.
No more than Bolton deserved given their exploits since the visitors’ early opening, the game appeared to fall into a lull, but the Whites still looked dangerous on the counter attack with Clough in particular making a nuisance of himself.
The clear cut opportunities did appear to dry up somewhat as the half wore on, with neither side really able to test their respective goalkeepers as both teams shored up their defences.
Le Fondre was brought down in the area with a minute of the half remaining with Wanderers left calling for a spot-kick, but the referee was unmoved and waved away their appeals as Bolton entered the break with their noses in front.
With no changes at the break for either side, the half got underway but there was soon a stoppage in play as Pratley was forced to withdraw due to Injury, with the midfielder replaced by Dean Moxey.
With the disruption in play, chances were few and far between inside the opening stages of the second period although Wolves were the side in the ascendancy with Wanderers being forced onto the backfoot somewhat.
Both sides were taking their time to settle into the game, with neither Lonergan nor Ikeme really being tested inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half with Benik Afobe’s shot into the side netting the most notable action early on.
It wasn’t until the 64th minute that Wanderers really tested the Wolves keeper, with Le Fondre’s half volley forcing Ikeme into a smart save down to his left.
The chance appeared to spark the game into life, with goalscorer Clough being replaced by Rob Hall with 20 minutes remaining as the Whites looked to put the result beyond doubt.
Hall almost made the perfect start as shortly after his introduction he tried his luck from distance after finding himself in space just outside the area, but his shot flew over the crossbar with Ikeme untroubled.
Le Fondre almost had an assist to his name with 11 minutes remaining as he attempted to find the advancing Moxey in front of goal, but the full-back narrowly failed to connect under pressure from his marker.
With the clock ticking down and Wolves pushing forward in search of a leveller, Wanderers were forced back but were still enjoying attacks of their own with Le Fondre and Hall coming close to extending the Trotters’ lead.
With five minutes of added time indicated, the visitors threw men forward including goalkeeper Ikeme and were eventually rewarded in some style as Henry fired home from 25 yards deep into stoppage time to earn Wolves a point.
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