Two top quality saves from former Liverpool and Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Chris Kirkland thwarted Bolton in added time and both sides, in the end, settling for a point in an entertaining game at a thundery Reebok Stadium. There were quite a few stand-out performers in Dougie's side, particularly defensively, starting with our centre-back pairing.
Matt Mills & Tim Ream seem, individually, to be growing in confidence with each passing game. Ream in particular has been perhaps the stand out player of the season so far. As a partnership they are developing nicely and they appear to compliment each other quite well. Mills' bruising, enforcer approach complements Ream's finesse and technical ability. Aside from a couple of reckless tackles by Mills, the performance of the pairing was faultless and they can feel quite let down that they were denied a clean sheet by Alex Baptiste's power header from the back post.
Another eye-catching defensive performance was that of on-loan Cardiff City Right-back Kevin McNaughton. The defender looked very comfortable on the ball and it was refreshing for a Wanderer's player to calmly look to play a ball into the centre of the pitch, instead of looking for the direct ball and gifting possession back to our opponents. McNaughton frequently stifled Sheffield Wednesday's threat from the counter attack. The full-back had no reluctance going forward either, even finding himself in the left-wing forward position for a moment in the first half. With Marc Tierney injured, McNaughton has proved to be a tremendous addition to our squad and of all the players we have on loan, he is the one the Wanderers' will miss the most when he returns to his parent club.
The Lion of Vienna Suite Man of the Match for Saturdays game against Sheffield Wednesday was Neil Danns. The match winner vs. Birmingham City, Danns put in some real ‘hard yards' for the Bolton cause and also was the catalyst for all Wanderers' attacks. This was particularly evident in the first half and included a clever back-heel that unleashed Jermaine Beckford for his second goal in as many games. Danns' was also dominant in the air winning a tremendous amount of his aerial battles which helped Beckford become involved instead of zoning out like he has in previous games.
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