Report: Bolton 1-1 Leeds United
Ten man Wanderers played out a 1-1 draw against Leeds United at Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Having been introduced as an early substitute in place of the injured Gary Madine, Shola Ameobi marked his Bolton debut with the opening goal of the game, volleying home from a corner just after the half hour mark.
A lead which remained intact until the 72nd minute of the game, the visitors were awarded a penalty which Mirco Antenucci dispatched past Ben Amos to earn Leeds a share of the spoils, with Prince-Desire Gouano receiving his marching orders for the foul which led to the spot kick.
There was a place on the bench for Ameobi following confirmation of his move to the club on Friday afternoon, while Josh Vela returned to the starting XI for Wanderers.
Getting underway to a raucous reception from both the home and away fans, Wanderers started brightly with Liam Feeney narrowly failing to find the head of Madine inside the six yard box inside three minutes.
The home side were the team in the ascendancy with the visitors struggling to make any real inroads into Bolton territory in the opening stages of the clash.
An injury to Madine however in the ninth minute halted proceedings somewhat, with the striker needing to leave the pitch and be substituted with Ameobi for the striker’s Bolton debut.
Wanderers’ pressure continued, with Darren Pratley glancing a header just over the bar from a Mark Davies cross into the box with 14 minutes on the clock.
The visitors then proceeded to enjoy their first chance of the game, with Tom Adeyemi seeing his snap-shot from a corner-kick rattle the upright with Ben Amos and his defence rooted.
Back up the other end meanwhile, Ameobi was already making a nuisance of himself in the Leeds box with the frontman laying the ball off for the advancing Davies, with Feeney unable to turn home the rebound after Marco Silvestri had parried his shot away.
Feeney came within inches of putting Bolton in front on the 20 minute mark, linking up well with Ameobi once again, but his shot flew agonisingly wide of the far post with Silvestri beaten.
The tempo of the game calmed down a little as the clash reached its half hour mark, although Wanderers were still the team enjoying the majority of possession and chances in front of goal.
And it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken, and it was that man Ameobi who provided the strike as he volleyed home from Jose Manuel Casado’s corner kick to send Macron Stadium into raptures with 32 minutes gone.
It was almost two three minutes later as he powered downfield and played the ball into the path of Feeney, but Silvestri was equal to the winger’s strike.
As the clock ran down to the break, Leeds attempted to force their way into the Bolton box and with 90 seconds of the half to go, Chris Wood saw his close range volley somehow saved by Amos to keep the Trotters’ lead intact as the referee blew for half time.
The half time break saw the introduction of Stephen Dobbie in place of Davies for Wanderers, but it was Leeds who enjoyed the first chance of the second period as Mirco Antenucci drilled a shot into the side netting after a mazy run from midfield.
Bolton were soon back on the attack however, with Dobbie in the midst of the madness as the Whites looked to extend their advantage.
Leeds were struggling to cope with Wanderers, with Ameobi almost finding an unmarked Dobbie in the 52nd minute with only Silvestri to beat from the edge of the box.
The visitors then saw an effort cleared off the line, with David Wheater dragging Antenucci’s shot away from goal although a foul had already been given on Amos.
Less than a minute later, Adeyemi saw another shot cannon off the post for Leeds, this time from all of 20 yards out from goal with the Bolton keeper a beaten man.
Wanderers were finding themselves under a little bit of pressure, but they were standing firm despite Steve Evans’ side trying their luck in front of goal.
Still looking dangerous on the counter attack however, Wanderers certainly weren’t resting on their laurels as they looked to put the game beyond their opponents with a quarter of the clash remaining.
And Dobbie almost had it with 21 minutes to go, forcing Silvestri into a smart save to keep his curled effort out from eight yards.
Right on the counter attack though, Leeds won a penalty which Antenucci duly dispatched, with Prince receiving a red card for the challenge which led to the spot-kick.
Now with ten men, the equaliser was a harsh one on Wanderers but they weren’t for settling, although Leeds were trying to make their man advantage count as the game ran down.
The introduction of Dorian Dervite with 12 minutes to go allowed Bolton to strengthen at the back in the absence of Prince, with the visitors piling on the pressure.
Dobbie was proving himself a catalyst for Bolton up the other end though, with the Scot at the centre of much of their play in Leeds’ third when the hosts were able to break upfield.
Three minutes of additional time were indicated and it was all Leeds as Bolton fought to protect their share of the spoils with Amos forced to deny Alex Mowatt from a long range free-kick, but the game ended all square at the final whistle.