Report: Bolton Wanderers 0 Ipswich Town 0 – Blues fail to make second half dominance count
Bolton v Ipswich: Ipswich Town couldn’t make their second-half dominance count at Bolton, a goalless draw extending their unbeaten run to eight matches but seeing them slip to fourth in the Championship table.
After an even first between two hard-working and organised sides, Town got on top amidst the heavy rain and hail of the second period. Home keeper Andy Lonergan made two fine saves from the impressive Jay Tabb though as Mick McCarthy’s men failed to score for the first time in 17 matches.
Bolton huffed and puffed, failing to produce a single shot on target all match.
McCarthy made one enforced change to his side following their 4-1 home win over Leeds. Teddy Bishop replacing Stephen Hunt (virus).
Bolton boss Neil Lennon replaced injured striker Craig Davies (hamstring) with youngster Conor Wilkinson, the Republic of Ireland international making his full Championship debut. He also dropped right-back Joshua Vela and brought in tall and experienced centre-back David Wheater to combat the in-form Daryl Murphy, Dorian Dervite moving across to full-back.
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With Town unbeaten in seven and Bolton without a loss in five, it made for a tight first between two hard-working and organised sides.
Unsung midfielder Jay Tabb was always in the right place at the right time for Ipswich, making crucial tackels and interceptions, while teenager Bishop always demanded the ball, looked strong on it and constantly looked to run at the opposition.
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For Bolton, pacy right-winger Liam Feeney enjoyed a good battle with Tyrone Mings, while left-back Tim Ream always looked to get forwards.
The closest the Blues came to breaking the deadlock came in the 10th minute. Bishop’s surging run from inside his own half led to a corner. Then, after that was half-cleared, Murphy’s dipping volley was tipped over by Andy Lonergan.
At the other end, Christophe Berra produced a fine block on Max Clayton in the box after he had run on to Ream’s fine ball up the line and cut inside Tommy Smith.
Moments later, there were groans from the home crowd when Ream decided to pass rather than shoot when a golden opportunity opened up for him in the box.
Bolton were forced into a substitution in the 29th minute, Clayton stretchered off having twisted his knee awkwardly in an earlier incident. His replacement, Jay Spearing, fired a low 25-yard effort just past the post.
Town - who constantly switch between a diamond midfield system and their usual 4-2-3-1 formation - also had a series of half chances, long range shots from Cole Skuse and McGoldrick easily dealt with by Lonergan.
There was a moment of controversy soon after the restart when Tabb did fantastically to beat Dervite in the air fairly. McGoldrick looked to be in on goal following the flick on, but the referee stopped play as Dervite was down with a head injury. The Bolton defender was soon up though and, bizarrely, a Town free-kick was awarded instead of a drop ball.
Ipswich soon began to get on top, in increasingly wet conditions, and it required two fine stops from Lonergan – both times from the impressive Tabb – to keep the scores level.
First, he rushed off his line to keep out a one-on-one chance after McGoldrick’s shot had deflected kindly into Tabb’s path.
Then, the home keeper acrobatically tipped over Tabb’s fine diving header following Paul Anderson’s outswinging corner from the right.
Just before that, the Bolton crowd were on their feet to cheer the introduction of Eidur Gudjohnsen – the ex-Chelsea and Barcelona striker making his second debut for the club.
Town continued to do the attacking though and McGoldrick went close with an angled effort following Berra’s fine ball up the line.
Bolton began to make numerous unforced errors and it increasingly began to feel as though Town could snatch a late winner, just as they did at Charlton. The hosts held firm though and even had big shouts for a penalty turned down in stoppage-time when Chung-Yong Lee’s run and cross hit Berra – seemingly on the midrift – inside the box.
BOLTON WDRS (4-2-3-1): Lonergan; Dervite, Mills (cpt), Wheater (Vela 70), Rean; Pratley (Gudjohnsen 61), Danns; Feeney, Lee, Clayton (Spearing 29); Wilkinson.
Unused subs: Bogdan, Moxey, Hall, Trotter.
Booked: Ream (86), Gudjohnsen (90).
IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Mings; Skuse; Anderson (N.Hunt 77), Tabb (Ambrose 87); Bishop (Bru 72); Murphy, McGoldrick.
Unused subs: Gerken, Parr, Clarke, Sammon.
Booked: McGoldrick (44), Mings (77), N.Hunt (90+).
Referee: Mr G Sutton.