Report: Bolton 1-1 Brentford
Neil Danns’ second half strike earned Wanderers a deserved share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw against Brentford at Macron Stadium.
It was the visitors who drew first blood in the clash, with John Swift firing home from the edge of the box ten minutes into a first half which saw the Whites come close on numerous occasions.
The Trotters’ efforts were eventually rewarded however with 25 minutes of the clash remaining as Danns’ half-volley from a similar position eluded David Button in the Brentford goal to pull Bolton deservedly level and ultimately secure a point at the final whistle.
There was a place in the starting line-up for both Max Clayton and Dorian Dervite, while academy graduate Rob Holding took his place amongst the substitutes for the Whites.
Wanderers started brightly with Clayton putting Button under pressure inside the opening minute of the clash, with the Brentford keeper only just clearing his line with the 21-year-old lurking.
The hosts’ work-rate continued with Shola Ameobi making himself known to the Bees’ defence early on as the Whites went in search of the opening goal of the evening.
It was certainly a feisty clash early on, with the visitors themselves attempted to force their way inside Bolton territory and they were rewarded in the tenth minute as John Swift curled the ball home from just outside the area.
A cruel goal for Wanderers to concede given their early efforts, they came within inches of equalising two minutes later with Button forced to push a superb Ameobi effort from the corner of the box over the crossbar.
Jose Casado also got in on the act meanwhile, with the Spaniard’s angled shot causing problems for the Bees’ shotstopper at his near post.
It was all Bolton as the game ran towards its quarter mark with Liam Feeney seeing a free-kick from 25 yards narrowly clear the goalmouth.
They were struggling to make any real inroads however after a promising start, with Brentford having shut up shop since opening the scoring.
It was frustrating stuff for Wanderers, but they were persevering and with each passing attack, looked to be getting that little bit closer to drawing level.
Brentford meanwhile forced a smart save out of Ben Amos, keeping Jake Bidwell’s fizzing cross out after initially parrying his effort from the left, while up the other end Darren Pratley saw his volley from just inside the box held by Button.
The visitors then saw Amos deny Lasse Vibe after the Brentford man had broken free of the Bolton defence, but it was in the midst of an injury to Clayton which saw the forward forced to limp off the field of play with 38 minutes gone.
With Bolton down to ten, Brentford almost had a second as Swift was denied at the near post by some heroics from Amos with five minutes of the half left.
Wanderers did enjoy the better chances as the half drew to a close, but their efforts were to prove fruitless at the half time whistle.
With no changes at the break for either side, the clash got back underway under the floodlights at Macron Stadium.
And it was Bolton who were enjoying chances early on, with Madine’s header being kept out by Button inside the opening minutes of the half.
Brentford were quickly on the backfoot, with Wanderers slowly making their way deeper and deeper into the visitors’ territory.
Having weathered the storm, Bidwell almost doubled the Bees’ advantage after losing his marker at the far post, only to see his cross-goal header clear the mark by inches with 55 minutes on the clock.
It was frustrating stuff for the Whites, with Brentford proving a tough nut to crack, but they were back level with 25 minutes of the game to go after Danns half-volleyed home from the edge of the box to send the Bolton faithful into raptures.
No more than Bolton deserved, Ameobi almost completed the comeback two minutes later but was unable to turn the ball home from close range through a crowded six yard box under pressure from numerous Brentford defenders.
The Bees were flustered and Wanderers were growing in confidence, with a succession of corners causing problems for Brentford.
It was all one-way traffic with Neil Lennon’s men looking more likely to snatch a second goal in the clash, although Amos was required to fall on a loose ball in the six yard box after a little hesitation from Casado under pressure.
With the game heading into its final ten minutes, there were certainly no signs of either side settling for a point with Bolton throwing men forward while Brentford were looking dangerous on the counter attack with Vibe testing Amos from 12 yards.
Stephen Dobbie was thrown into the mix with just a minute of normal time to play, with the Scot replacing Davies in the Whites’ line-up.
With three minutes of additional time indicated, Brentford saw an effort kept out at point blank range with David Wheater the hero for Bolton while a scramble in the Bees’ penalty area saw Wanderers squander an opportunity to snatch all three points as the whistle blew for full time.