Report: Bolton 1-0 Hull City
Wanderers ended their exploits at Macron Stadium this term with 1-0 victory over Hull City on Saturday lunchtime.
Following a goalless first half of little goalmouth action, the deadlock was broken shortly after the hour mark as Stephen Dobbie drilled home from 12 yards out after connecting with a Lawrie Wilson cross.
The visitors did rally inside the closing stages to force an equaliser but ultimately failed to break down a resilient Bolton backline as the Whites picked up all three points.
Tyler Garratt was handed his first start for the club having made his debut as a substitute against Cardiff last weekend, while Under-21 striker George Newell was amongst the Bolton substitutes.
There was also a late change to Wanderers’ starting line-up with Wilson replacing Josh Vela who was injured in the warm-up.
Despite rain seemingly setting in during the pre-match warm-up, the sun was shining as proceedings got underway at Macron Stadium in front of the Sky television cameras.
And it was clear to see from the outset that despite neither side being able to improve on their respective league positions, there was certainly still ample pride to play for.
Inside the opening ten minutes though, goalmouth opportunities were few and far between with neither Ben Amos nor Eldin Jakupovic being troubled.
Shortly after, hailstone descended on BL6 making conditions a test for all involved while Chuba Akpom narrowly failed to find the advancing Ahmed Elmohamady with a clever cross-goal ball with 17 minutes on the clock.
Wanderers responded brightly however, with Jakupovic being forced to save from Darren Pratley from six yards, with Zach Clough’s rebound being blocked and Neil Danns’ effort flashing inches wide of the mark in a frantic period.
With a quarter of the game gone, Hull enjoyed their best chance of the game so far, only to see Akpom’s deft header narrowly clear the goalmouth with Amos at full stretch.
A let-off for the home side, they were forced to defend extensively for the first time in the game thereafter although did enjoy a counter-attack through the skipper Pratley who was eventually halted in his tracks inside the 18-yard box.
Garratt introduced himself to the Macron faithful with just four minutes remaining of the first half meanwhile, with the 19-year-old embarking on a mazy run down the left flank before eventually being snuffed out at the edge of the area.
On the stroke of half time, the Tigers looked to have broken the deadlock in style with Robert Snodgrass’ 30-yard free-kick, but his effort cannoned off the crossbar to the relief of Wanderers.
With no changes at the break for either side, proceedings got back underway at Macron Stadium with Hull looking dangerous from the outset.
Wanderers weathered the mini-storm however, although Amos had to be on his guard to palm Shaun Maloney’s looping effort from close range away from the top corner of his goalmouth with the half four minutes old.
Some clever build-up play meanwhile between Clough and Danns shortly after almost brought the opener goal of the game, with Jakupovic keeping out the latter’s close range effort.
Buoyed by their close call, Wanderers saw a David Wheater header hooked off the goal line from the resulting corner with the Bolton faithful already on their feet in celebration.
The game had certainly woken up inside the second 45, with Hull also coming within inches of scoring as Akpom thundered an effort against the underside of the crossbar and out again.
Just after the hour mark, George Newell was introduced for his Bolton debut and a matter of minutes later, the deadlock was finally broken as Wilson found substitute Dobbie who thundered home from 12 yards out to the delight of the home faithful.
Having fallen behind, Hull responded with a double substitution, throwing both Mohamed Diame and Sone Aluko into the mix for the final 20 minutes of the game as they hunted for a route back into the encounter.
The home side were looking likely to add to their tally as the clock ran down at Macron Stadium, with Newell impressing on his first ever senior appearance for the club.
Entering the last ten minutes, there wasn’t much between the two teams as Hull looked for an equaliser and Bolton aimed to extend their lead, although the home side were seeing most of their opportunities come via counter-attacks following breaks from the Tigers.
As the clock hit 90 minutes, four minutes of additional time were indicated – an announcement which saw Hull go all out in a bid to earn a share of the spoils.
With Bolton penned into their own penalty area, Steve Bruce’s men threw everyone forward while the Whites had all eleven men inside their box as the visitors won a succession of corner kicks.
Try as they might however, they just couldn’t breach Wanderers’ rearguard with Jimmy Phillips’ men holding out for the victory.
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