Report: Bolton 1-1 QPR
Wanderers were cruelly denied victory at the death against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
In a goalless first period, the best chance of the half fell to Zach Clough whose acrobatic overhead kick came within inches of finding the back of the net with Alex Smithies stranded.
The frontman made no mistake with 22 minutes of the game left though, curling home into the top corner to break the deadlock in style.
Rangers however broke Bolton hearts deep in stoppage time as Matt Phillips fired home under Amos to earn the visitors a share of the spoils against the run of play.
Clough returned to the starting line-up for Wanderers having featured as a substitute against Brighton last weekend with Wellington Silva dropping to the bench.
At a rained soaked Macron Stadium, the game got underway and it was the home side who enjoyed the first real sight of goal when Liam Feeney’s free-kick into the area was hooked away with Emile Heskey and Clough lurking.
Bolton’s pressure continued, although the visitors did find some possession and counter attacks, albeit ones mainly restricted to the flanks rather than in the danger zone.
Any real threat in front of goal however had eluded both sides inside the opening quarter of an hour, with neither Ben Amos nor Alex Smithies being troubled.
The tackles were flying in left, right and centre however, with Karl Henry the first recipient of a booking for a rash challenge on the skipper.
Wanderers were the team looking the more likely though, with a goalmouth scramble from a low Feeney cross narrowly failing to be turned home by Heskey at close range.
On 26 minutes, QPR enjoyed their first real chance of the half as Conor Washington latched onto a clever ball down the right flank, but the youngster’s effort was parried away by Amos.
On the half hour mark, Feeney attempted to lob Smithies from an angle with the keeper slightly off his line, but the winger’s effort was just over.
With the clock ticking down to half time, the game remained level with Clough’s acrobatic overhead kick from 12 yards going agonisingly wide of the mark with three minutes to go until the break.
A boost for the home side after a first period spent mostly on a knife edge, it was to prove to be the last real action of the match as the half ended goalless.
With no changes for either side at the break, the second half began with the rain having subsided after a sodden first period.
And it was Wanderers who almost drew first blood, with Heskey unable to turn the ball home from close range under pressure from his marker.
The offside flag was next to thwart Bolton, with the assistant referee flagging Feeney as offside with him only left with the keeper to beat.
In the 52nd minute, Gary Madine came into the mix in place of Heskey to bring fresh impetus to Wanderers who were ruling proceedings for the most part.
It was all Bolton, with Rangers struggling to make any real inroads into the Whites’ territory, although the home side were cutting frustrated figures in front of goal when it came down to it.
Moxey attempted to tee up any one of his advancing teammates in the box with 25 minutes remaining, slamming a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but no-one was able to meet his effort with the goal gaping.
With 22 minutes remaining however, the deadlock was finally broken and done so in style as Clough curled the ball home into the top corner of the net from just outside the box with Smithies given no chance whatsoever.
Completely deserved given their dominance in the clash, it was clear to see that Bolton weren’t ready to rest on their laurels although the goal did appear to bring Rangers out of their shells a little inside the closing stages.
Henry, earlier booked, appeared to be set for an early bath with 13 minutes of the game to go as he clashed once again with Pratley, but the referee failed to brandish a second yellow with him being substituted soon after.
Wanderers’ goalscorer was replaced himself with seven minutes remaining, with Neil Danns coming on in the academy graduate’s place.
Victory was agonisingly close for the home side, but the visitors weren’t a beaten team just yet with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men getting forward in their numbers late on.
With four minutes of time added on, it was all hands to the pump for Wanderers as they worked to keep their lead intact, with the Macron faithful responding in their backing.
Fate was to be cruel to Bolton however, with Phillips firing home under Amos two minutes into stoppage time to deny the Whites a what would have been a deserved victory.