Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 1 v 1 Sheffield Wednesday

Stu Forster

Alex Baptiste’s own goal cancelled out Jermaine Beckford’s first half strike to leave the Whites still searching for their first home win. After numerous chances and Wednesday being reduced to 10 men in the second half Dougie Freedman will be scratching his head wondering how his side didn’t take all 3 points.

The early stages of the game were dominated by the visitors who showed that they wouldn’t be pushovers. Millwall loanee Liam Feeney put in a few inviting crosses causing havoc in Chris Kirkland’s box but the first meaningful chance of the game fell to the visitors. After clever interlinking play Matty Fryatt came one and one with Hungarian stopper Adam Bogdan, who was quick to come out and close down the angle making a crucial save with his left foot. The first goal of the game came moments later out of nothing. Adam Bogdan sent a searching goal-kick up to Jamaican striker Jermaine Beckford. After a loose touch loanee Neil Danns brilliantly put Beckford in with a sublime back heel that he coolly finished from inside the penalty area.

This goal came against the run of play and consequently Wednesday levelled quickly after with Alex Baptiste heading past his own goalkeeper. Ex-Manchester City winger Hélan was given too much space on the wing and sent an inviting ball into the box. After initially doing a good job getting in front and goal side of his attacker Baptiste was only able to bundle the ball into his own net.

It was a very poor first half for the Wanderers, Wednesday were on top and definitely looking the stronger side. In all honesty the entertainment was better at half time with the new catching challenge proving to be a hit. One of the key talking points in the second half was Wednesday’s disallowed winner when Jermaine Johnson headed home from Steve McPhail’s free kick. Initially Johnson’s looping header drifted past Bogdan and evaded the covering defenders on its way into the net, sending the traveling fans into raptures. Their celebrations were premature as lineswoman Sian Massey raised her flag for offside. This left many confused and Wednesday manager Dave Jones livid. Later it emerged that Reda Johnson had been deemed offside after blocking Bogdan's line of sight.

After this the game finally ignited. Suddenly there was noise and a buzz inside the stadium. Both teams squandered numerous chances. Firstly Wednesday winger Antonio fluffed his lines in front of goal giving the home fans a huge sigh of relief. Both sides had the chances to win the game but poor finishing was the main factor in the score remaining level. Seven minutes from the end a passionate contest boiled over completely. Jose Semedo was given a straight red card after an ugly tackle on Jay Spearing in the centre circle. The Wednesday defender went straight through Spearing who was lucky to come away unharmed. This led to a brawl in the centre circle with the majority of players getting involved. Again Jones was adamant that the referee Chris Foy had got it wrong, when he sees the replays he can have no arguments, it was a horrible tackle.

With the away side down to 10 men the Whites surged forward and if it wasn’t for Chris Kirkland’s heroics would have won the game. The ex-Wigan and England keeper made 3 crucial saves late on to deny Matt Mills’ headers. A combination of our wastefulness in front of goal and good goalkeeping ensured that the Owls went away with their seventh draw of the season but still looking for their first win.

A team who at the start of the season were tipped for automatic promotion should really be brushing away opposition like Sheffield Wednesday easily, and I say that with no disrespect to them. If we can’t beat a team who haven’t won all season at our own stadium then who can we beat? I understand that there are no easy games in the championship but our record at home this season has been poor. Failing to beat the likes of Yeovil, Leeds and Derby is worrying. A draw at home to this opposition isn’t a good result but we were lucky to draw in the first place. Their offside goal in the second half was very dubious so we should be grateful for a point, but it’s not enough. Yes, we’re unbeaten in 4 games but we’ve taken 9 points from 12 games, is that really acceptable?

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