A determined and resilient display from Phil Parkinson’s men earned Bolton Wanderers a precious point at Carrow Road after they shut up shop to keep out Norwich City on a bitterly cold afternoon in Norfolk.
How the Canaries didn’t score during the first half was testament to a stoic performance from Wanderers.
But it wasn’t all Norwich from an attacking point of view, as Wanderers caused problems of their own, particularly in the second half.
They claimed the result that epitomised their guile and character.
Phil Parkinson made four changes to the side that beat Sunderland in midweek with captain Darren Pratley returning from injury in place of the suspended Karl Henry. Reece Burke, Antonee Robinson and Adam Le Fondre returned to the fray with Andrew Taylor, Aaron Wilbraham and Zach Clough named among the substitutes.
The Canaries’ possession-centric football was evident from the off as they managed to keep hold of the ball from kick off for the opening two minutes without advancing into Wanderers’ half.
Moritz Leitner unleashed a shot from the edge of the box, which went narrowly wide, as the hosts advanced further up the field.
James Maddison, who started brightly, had Ben Alnwick beaten with a right footed curler from the edge of the box, but the keeper’s left hand post came to Wanderers’ rescue.
The returning Pratley fouled Josh Murphy which presented Norwich with a free-kick about 30 yards out. Maddison took the set-piece and Grant Hanley should have done better with his unchallenged header that drifted wide.
Wanderers earned successive corners thanks to Robinson’s advance down the left, but Morais’ second effort went straight into the arms of Angus Gunn.
Maddison was constantly making a nuisance of himself and he drew a foul from Wheater just outside the box. The blonde-haired midfielder picked himself up to take the free-kick which deflected off Wanderers’ stoic wall for a corner.
Alnwick got the better of Madison moments later when he parried a thunderous drive from the energetic midfielder, who was by far and away the Canaries’ most threatening player.
A rare chance for Wanderers came when Le Fondre got a glancing header on a Morais centre after the visitors broke away. The chance, though, glided wide of Gunn.
Wheater made a spectacular last ditch challenge to dispossess Murphy after the front man was in front of goal.
Dervite got a boot on to Oliveria’s goalbound shot as the hosts tried to step things up but Wanderers quickly countered from the resulting corner and ended up with a free-kick after Morais was fouled.
Pratley picked up the game’s first caution for a late challenge on Reed with ten minutes of the half remaining.
Leitner spurned his side’s best chance when he inexplicably sidefooted the ball wide of an advancing Alnwick after being put through by a splendid pass from Oliveria.
There were shades of Frank Worthington from Sammy Ameobi as he juggled the ball with his back to goal before unleashing a volley which went wide as Wanderers again found themselves in a good attacking position.
But the hosts responded with another foray into the Wanderers third which culminated in a firm shot from that man Maddison blocked impressively by Morais.
Despite making no substitutions, Wanderers changed formation to a back four with Morais moving over to a wide midfield position on the left and Dervite going to right back.
Wanderers earned a free kick from the right hand side of the penalty area straight after they got the half underway. A terrific delivery from the Portuguese born star forced the Canaries into conceding a corner from a defensive header.
It was a bright start to the second period from the visitors who enjoyed a lot of possession. Another free kick from Morais was whipped into the box. It evaded everyone as it bobbled its way in to the arms of Gunn.
Maddison resumed from where he had left off and saw a left footed centre deflect off Beevers who was in front of goal.
Zimmerman had his name taken by the referee for a late challenge on Karacan which gave Morais another set piece that was ultimately cleared by the hosts.
Wanderers were edging their way back into the contest and the travelling band of 600 or so visiting fans were making their presence felt despite the freezing conditions at Carrow Road.
Parkinson made a double substitution after 67 minutes with Wilbraham and Flanagan on for Le Fondre and Wheater.
Some good hold up play by Wilbraham laid a chance on for Karacan whose goalbound effort deflected for a corner. As he was crossing over to take the corner, Morais was shown a yellow card for apparent time wasting.
Wanderers looked a far different proposition than they did in their first half and certainly worked the Norwich midfield and defence much harder.
Burke was the next Wanderers player to receive a caution after he grappled Maddison to the floor.
The Canaries made their first change when Srbeny replaced Hernandez with 13 minutes of play remaining.
The talismanic Wes Hoolahan soon followed when he came on for Tettey; Wanderers then made their final change with Derik coming on for Burke, who hobbled off with what appeared to be a leg injury.
Ameobi received a very harsh yellow card for a challenge in which he clearly won the ball.
With just five minutes remaining, Wilbraham hit a shot over the bar with only Gunn to beat after some determined running and a slide-rule pass from Flanagan found his fellow substitute in a great position.
Deep into the six minutes of time added on, Flanagan was cautioned for a late challenge on Murphy which presented the hosts with a set piece in a very dangerous area out wide. Hoolahan’s free kick was successfully defended as Wanderers breathed again.
But Parkinson’s men held on to earn the point their second-half merited.