Report: Bolton 0-0 Bristol City
Wanderers were held to a goalless draw at home to Bristol City on Saturday afternoon.
After a first half of few chances, Bolton were afforded the opportunity to break the deadlock from the spot with the second period just five minutes old after Gary Madine was fouled in the box, but Shola Ameobi’s effort from 12 yards was saved by Frank Fielding.
The Whites continued to push for a goal and appeared to have been rewarded in the 78th minute, only for Ameobi to be deemed offside from Darren Pratley’s cross after poking the ball home at the far post to sum up a frustrating afternoon at Macron Stadium.
Ameobi came into the starting line-up for Wanderers having sat out the midweek trip to Ipswich, while Stephen Dobbie also made the XI for the Whites.
Following a period of silence in honour of Remembrance Sunday, the game got underway with both sides visibly eager to make their mark on the clash from the outset.
Bristol City were the team who were offering more inside the open stages however, with the visitors left calling for a penalty kick after Luke Freeman went down under the challenge of Jay Spearing to no avail as Bolton found themselves under some pressure from Steve Cotterill’s side.
Wanderers looked dangerous on the counter though, with Darren Pratley’s clever through-ball into the path of the advancing Liam Feeney clipping the heels of the winger with him in on goal.
The chance seemed to be just what was needed for the hosts, with Josh Vela looking lively in and around City’s penalty area shortly afterwards.
Wanderers’ blushes were spared shortly after however as, following poor control from Jose Manuel Casado, Jonathan Kodjia attempted to find his teammate Kieran Agard at the far post, only to see his effort go wide.
The Robins then proceeded to hit the crossbar only moments later, with some confusion between Ben Amos and Prince almost resulting in the opener for Agard as the ball bounce off him and rattled the woodwork.
The visitors’ pressure continued, but the Whites were dealing with everything that was thrown their way with the Robins squandering a number of set pieces.
Up the other end of the field meanwhile, Feeney almost created the opening goal of the game after running onto a smart ball from Casado down the left flank, but he was unable to spot Ameobi at the far post and instead pulled it back for Pratley who was beaten to it by a Bristol body.
It was frustrating stuff for both teams, with Wanderers being forced to bide their time and build up attacks slowly as City rebuffed their attempts to break them down at the back.
With a matter of minutes remaining in the first period, Bolton rallied in a bid to break the deadlock but their efforts proved fruitless at the break.
Having picked up a knock late on in the first period, Dobbie didn’t return for the second with Gary Madine coming into the fray to replace him.
City were handed a glorious opportunity with the half just 90 seconds old as Kodjia shrugged off the challenge of Wheater to place the ball into the path of Agard, but his cross was just too strong for the frontman and Wanderers received a big let off.
With the half just five minutes old however, Bolton were handed an opportunity to open the scoring after Madine was shoved in the back inside the area with the referee pointing to the spot.
Ameobi stepped up to seemingly add to his debut goal for the club, but Frank Fielding was on his mark to deny the frontman from 12 yards and keep the scores level.
Frustration was clear to see for Bolton, with Madine unable to bundle home the rebound after the City keeper had spilled his effort.
Wanderers were left calling for another spot kick in the 59th minute with Pratley appearing to be fouled in the area, but Stuart Attwell remained unmoved despite remonstrations from players and fans alike.
The visitors meanwhile were enjoying a period of possession, with Wanderers on the backfoot despite dominating for much of the second half so far.
The introduction of Filip Twardzik in place of Casado with 65 minutes gone offered Bolton a fresh pair of legs in defence, with the Czech slotting into the left-back position in place of the Spaniard.
Ameobi and Feeney meanwhile almost combined for a goal, with the latter’s shot being pushed over the crossbar by Fielding after great work from the Nigerian frontman down the left wing.
Feeney was again in the mix moments later, with Madine unable to head home the winger’s cross into a crowded penalty area with Fielding a beaten man.
It was end to end at Macron Stadium, with the game undoubtedly balanced finely on a knife edge as Madine saw another header fly narrowly wide of the upright.
The deadlock appeared to have been broken with 12 minutes to go after Pratley found Ameobi at the far post, but the offside flag denied the striker and Wanderers, while the former came agonisingly close himself just two minutes later but was unable to turn the ball home.
With the game inside its final stages, there was no let up from either side with the tempo showing no signs of slowing down as the 90 minute mark drew ever nearer.
With four minutes of additional time indicated, it was all hands to the pump for Neil Lennon’s men but Ameobi saw a header from a Feeney cross saved at point blank range to ensure that the clash ended all square at the final whistle.