This was perhaps the most conventional starting XI Dougie has used. In fact, I am fairly sure Owen Coyle used this exact same personnel on some of his 4-5-1 occasions. If someone just watched the first three minutes of the match and left, they would have thought it was a roaring success.
Bolton started like a house-on-fire in the first five minutes, peppering the Huddersfield Town goal and passing their way through the penalty area. So of course the home side scored the first goal.
It was a Huddersfield counter attack that was eventually put out for a corner. James Vaughan delivered the ball into the box and Anthony Gerrard (Steven's cousin) rose highest to meet it. His header hit Kevin Davies (or Zat Knight) and went into the back of Adam Bogdan's net.
The Terriers took control after that and for 20 minutes Bolton couldn't have told you what the ball looked like. Huddersfield would come close a couple of more times, forcing Adam Bogdan saves and hitting the bar. Bolton came close after Smithies blocked a Mark Davies effort and Keith Andrews' shot on the rebound fizzed just over the crossbar.
Things calmed down around the 30-minute-mark and the half ended with a whimper.
Bolton once again came out on fire for the second half. Mark Davies and Chris Eagles both pushed further up the pitch in a moderate formation change, 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3. This really gave Bolton the impetus, and they dominated for the first fifteen minutes, creating at least five clear chances but not putting any of them in the back of the net. Whatever Dougie Freedman said to his team at the break worked. Possession was all Bolton's as they pegged Huddersfield Town back in their own half for the vast majority of the half until the equalizer.
Mark Davies in typical Mark Davies fashion made a mazy run through a number of defenders in light-blue-and-white shirts. He hit his shot from the edge of the box to bring it to 1-1.
A few minutes later, Sam Ricketts was brought down in the Huddersfield penalty area by fullback Paul Dixon. Chris Eagles stepped up to take and went for power. Goalkeeper Alex Smithies guessed the direction correctly and saved, keeping the game at 1-1.
Eagles would get his redemption though. Mark Davies broke through the Huddersfield defense once more and found Chris Eagles unmarked. Eagles took his chance very well and that was Bolton taking the lead!
Matt Mills then got injured and went off. Tim Ream came on. Maybe the organization suffered after that, because it didn't take long for James Vaughn to equalize late in the 90. The teams got a robust six minutes of stoppage time to extend what turned into quite an exciting and entertaining match. Vaughn almost got another goal in stoppage time, forcing several saves from Bogdan. Huddersfield dominated the final few minutes and Bolton were hanging on for dear life.
Tim ream slipped very late and let Vaughn through on goal, but Bogdan made a brilliant save, and Dougie Freedman has another draw on his CV.
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