Going ahead and then failing to establish a commanding lead has very much been a constant storyline for Bolton Wanderers this season. Despite going ahead, the Trotters failed to hold on and dropped two more points (to bring their season total to 26 dropped from winning positions) as the match ended a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.
A boring first half with neither side really threatening took the full 45 minutes and then some to provide a breakthrough. With a free kick from distance late into stoppage time, Jay Spearing provided an excellent ball into the box. After some jostling and a ruck of bodies, it nestled nicely in the back of the net with Craig Dawson wheeling away in celebration. There was some confusion and speculation that it was an own goal but it was eventually handed to Dawson as it looked like he simply glanced the header in.
Of course, Bolton being Bolton, they could not build up a lead and would ultimately surrender points from a winning position. The second half was very much all Derby County as they came from having just 49% possession in the first half to 53% for the whole game. They peppered Adam Bogdan's goal with 22 shots (ten of which were on target) and forced some outstanding saves out of Bolton's goalkeeper.
It was in the 81st minute that it would really become undone for the Trotters. A cross came into the box from the left wing with Michael Jacobs the man delivering. Jamie Ward, standing an inch shorter than Jay Spearing at 5'5", snuck into the area at the far post and nodded home at close range to save a point for Derby and drop another two for Bolton.
Both teams would have their chances to win it late on but a few point-blank stops from Adam Bogdan kept Bolton in it. Late substitute Marvin Sordell nearly won it for the Trotters as his effort dribbled into the back of the net but the flag had gone up and he was in an offside position.
Bolton move up a spot to 16th in the table and are four points clear of the drop zone.