Match Report: Yeovil v Bolton

Another goal for the big man

After a disappointing 2-0 home defeat against1 Brighton and Hove Albion, Dougie Freedman’s Bolton team headed to Yeovil strongly backed by a bumper away following of 1,600 as the lure of the terraces at Huish Park was too much to resist for Wanderers fans. This was the first ever league meeting of the sides at Huish Park.

Many of the travelling Bolton Wanderers fans were unable to decide whether they should be looking up or down the table as the season seems effectively over already, aside from next weeks derby with Wigan Athletic.

Continuing his recent  move towards a rotation policy, there were some slight changes to the squad, most notably the return of the influential Mark Davies to the starting line-up as well as a place on the bench for Jamaican striker Jermaine Beckford after a longer than anticipated lay-off.

Both teams started brightly and recently much improved full back Alex Baptiste had an effort fired wide following a Jay Spearing corner. The delivery of Spearing from dead ball situations is something that also continues to improve this season, this was seen most notably at the game at Leeds United where the Scouser's execution was a major part in a landmark victory.

After their own landmark result in midweek with a hard fought 3-3 at the DW Stadium, Yeovil did not lack bite and were causing Bolton and their somewhat interesting CB partnership of Zat Knight and Tim Ream constant stress. This was predominantly through welsh forward Tom Lawrence who is on loan from Manchester United. 
The 20 year old Lawrence, who was not only NOT Liam Lawrence as I had suspected when I quickly glanced over the team sheet before kick off, he was also causing a constant threat and was close with numerous early efforts.

Fresh from netting two in midweek, Lawrence's strike partner Ishmael Miller  would be the man to put the hosts in from as he converted a Keith Dawson cross  low past Adam Bogdan.

Despite another squandered Bolton effort falling again to Alex Baptiste, it would get worse before it got better for Bolton  as the hungry Tom Lawrence was desperate to open his account for Yeovil and after seeing to efforts from distances thwarted by Adam Bogdan, the young loanee was on hand to provide young Irish midfielder Kevin Dawson with the opportunity to double Yeovil's lead which he took with ease, guiding the ball past Bogdan from outside the area.

Bolton were certainly happy to see half time as they were struggling to contain a Yeovil side with the wind in their sails.

The second half task was quite simple for Bolton, put Yeovil under pressure early in front of their travelling fans and the hosts would become nervous holding on to a precious three points in their attempt to remain at Championship level.

Through the energy of Neil Danns, Bolton came out of the blocks flying as referee Darren Deadman re-commenced proceedings. Danns and Medo Kamara both fired wide as Mark Davies also began to influence the game as the away side began to retain possession and use it with purpose.

When the pressure began to be applied, Bolton's way back into the game came with relative ease as on-form striker Lukas Jutkiewicz was able to amble towards the Yeovil penalty area and eventually guide a low shot past Yeovil goalkeeper Marek Štěch from outside of the area.

Bolton continued to apply pressure and chance-magnet Alex Baptiste had an effort blocked after receiving the ball from Jutkiewicz. Jutkiewicz' strike partner Joe Mason forced a save from Štěch after more good work from Jutkiewicz.

As the game began to settle again and Yeovil created a genuine chance for themselves through Miller, Bolton manager Dougie Freedman unleashed club top goal scorer Jermaine Beckford back in to the fray, in place of Mason.

The game remained quite balanced as it headed into its closing stages and it is here that it would burst into life.  Following a cute back-heel flick from Ishmael Miller, Kevin Dawson went to ground following a challenge from Alex Baptiste, referee Deadman initially waved away protest from the home players pnly to follow the advice of the near assistant referee and the penalty was awarded with Baptiste also being dismissed for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. At least the assistant referee had the decency to refuse a high five attempt from a joyous Yeovil player. Whilst Bolton manager Freedman claimed to have no complaints with the decision in his post-match comments, it certainly did look on the soft side.

With Huish Park in an anxious silence, Miller stepped up and bobbled an effort onto the post to the delight of the Bolton players who clearly also felt the decision was on the harsh side. Buoyed by their change in fortune, Bolton compounded their hosts misery almost immediately as Zat Knight followed his recent goal against Leeds United as he looped a header over the stranded Marek Štěch.

Bolton did continue to apply pressure to Yeovil as Lukas Jutkiewicz had an effort saved after receiving the ball from substitute Andre Moritz. Freedman soon decided that with 10 men, a point was more than enough and substituted Jutkiewicz  for David Wheater and Bolton held on for a point which at half time and certainly at 79 minutes, looked unlikely.

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