Report: Bolton 0-2 Huddersfield Town
Wanderers began 2016 with defeat after falling to a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Huddersfield Town at Macron Stadium.
Following a goalless first half – one which saw Liam Feeney hit the post for the home side – the visitors proceeded to take the lead on the hour mark with Joe Lolley slamming home at the second attempt after seeing his first effort blocked.
Wanderers rallied in a bid to pull level, but inside the final minutes of the clash the Terriers snatched a second goal through substitute Mustapha Carayol with the on-loan Middlesbrough man stroking the ball into the net after Amos had saved Nahki Wells’ initial shot to ensure that the Whites slipped to defeat.
Wanderers’ starting XI was unchanged from the side who defeated Blackburn Rovers on Monday, with the bench boasting the inclusion of Derik Osede in the only change to the matchday eighteen as the Spaniard replaced Lawrie Wilson amongst the substitutes.
In a change to the norm, Wanderers found themselves attacking towards their home fans in the first period and wasted no time in attempting to give the Bolton faithful something to shout about as Darren Pratley’s header from a Liam Feeney free kick lofted narrowly over the crossbar inside two minutes.
It was a bright start for the Whites, with Huddersfield forced onto the backfoot for much of the opening stages as Neil Lennon’s men poured forward in a bid to open the scoring.
Wanderers came close once again soon after, with Gary Madine’s glancing header from a superb Dean Moxey cross flying a matter of inches wide of the upright while Feeney collected a long-range throw from the Whites’ left-back shortly after, only to see his eventual shot blocked at the death.
The winger came within a whisker of adding to his four goals already this season with 12 minutes gone Feeney sprinting downfield to collect a loose ball, but his sweet effort rattled the post with Jed Steer a beaten man.
It was virtually one way traffic inside the opening quarter of an hour, with Wanderers undoubtedly unlucky not to already be in front in the clash.
As the first period reached its halfway point, the visitors did find some space as they finally found themselves in Bolton territory as Nahki Wells poured forward only for a superb last ditch challenge from Prince in the area to prevent him from firing home.
It was an opportunity which certainly woke up the travelling supporters, with their calls for a penalty kick falling on deaf ears although it did lead to a small revival on Huddersfield’s part as they put Wanderers under some pressure in the minutes afterwards.
The game proceeded to fall into an end-to-end encounter, with the visitors finding their feet after a slow start on their part.
It was the first time that Wanderers had found themselves under any real pressure in the game, but they were standing firm under attack from the Terriers.
As the clock ran down the break, it was the visitors who found themselves dominating possession with Bolton forced to defend in numbers on the stroke of half time, but their efforts were in vain as the hosts kept them at bay to ensure a goalless scoreline at the end of the first 45.
Just the one change at the break saw Sean Scannell replaced with Jamie Paterson for the visitors and proceedings got back underway at a damp Macron Stadium.
And it was the visitors who started brightly with Prince forced to clear a Wells effort off the line inside the opening 60 seconds of the game after the forward had rounded Ben Amos in the Bolton goal.
A let-off for Wanderers, they were forced once again to stand firm as Town peppered the Bolton penalty area while Amos was forced to tip a Wells effort around the post with 55 minutes gone.
And on the stroke of the hour mark, the visitors finally breached the Whites’ rearguard with Lolley seeing his original shot blocked before reacting to slam home the rebound.
Looking for an immediate route back into the game, Wanderers rallied but were almost hit on the counter attack, only for Ben Chilwell to fire high and wide after finding himself in space.
Bolton on the other hand meanwhile came close twice in quick succession, firstly Pratley seeing a shot from the edge of the box blocked before Clough fired just wide with only the keeper to beat.
The introduction of Wellington Silva in place of Rob Holding shortly afterwards signalled Bolton’s intent in the clash, with Vela retreating to right back in place of his fellow academy graduate.
Huddersfield were still looking menacing on the break though, with Wanderers having to pull men back to keep them at bay.
The Whites weren’t a beaten side quite yet though, with them throwing men forward in a bid to force an equaliser as Clough saw his free-kick from the corner of the area blocked with nine minutes to go.
With time running out however, Bolton were hit on the counter attack with substitute Carayol firing home after Amos had parried Wells’ initial effort with four minutes to go to secure victory for the Yorkshire outfit.