Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Ipswich Town: Garner earns a point from a dour clash at the Macron
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Ipswich Town’s first real moment of quality produced their equaliser as Joe Garner rescued a 1-1 draw at lowly Bolton.
Gary Madine had put the hosts ahead as he finished at the back post at the start of the second period, following a dire opening 45 minutes, before Garner finished off an impressive team move by tapping home with less than 10 minutes left.
Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Gleeson both made debuts after signing for the Blues on Friday, with both players performing admirably on an afternoon with little else to be excited about.
Their ugly point could easily have been three, had Martyn Waghorn’s driven effort crept a few inches to the right, rather than thumping the angle of post and bar.
Blues boss McCarthy made two changes to the side which beat Leeds last weekend, with Bartosz Bialkowski returning to the side in place of Dean Gerken and Carter-Vickers coming in at centre-half, with Myles Kenlock dropping to the bench.
The visitors could easily have been behind inside a minute, with Bialkowski required to block a Josh Vela effort after he had bundled his way into the penalty area.
That was as much as the Blues were troubled during a truly dire first half, in which both sides contrived to give the ball away with feet, head and from throw ins, all while failing to create any meaningful chances.
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Ipswich did show signs of life, though, when Luke Chambers did well to turn a Waghorn corner towards goal with his thigh, forcing a good save from Ben Alnwick, before Waghorn fired his follow-up over the bar.
Gary Madine, Bolton’s big target man, did test the Blues defence when the ball was played to him in the air, but his biggest impact came on the ground when he chopped down Skuse which eventually forced the Town man to be replaced at the break.
The loss of Skuse meant a debut for Stephen Gleeson, but the former Birmingham midfielder and his team-mates soon found themselves behind.
It was Madine who got it, as he ghosted in to turn home a Will Buckley ball which was helped on at the near post.
Town took time to find their feet but did manage a few forays forward, with Carter-Vickers starting attacks from the back, but Bolton kept threatening as Madine towered above Knudsen to head just wide at the back post.
The Blues kept plugging away, though, and they were rewarded when a team move involving Gleeson, Waghorn and McGoldrick ended with Garner tapping home to rescue a point.
It could have been three, had McGoldrick made the right decision when charging towards goal, but his delivery was poor with an onrush of Blues waiting in the middle before Waghorn struck the woodwork.