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Match Report: Bolton 1 v 1 Ipswich

Bolton brought a more positive formation and a more experienced goalkeeper into their match at the Reebok on Saturday. Unfortunately, the results remained the same.

High five anyone?
High five anyone?
Chris Brunskill

Bolton Wanderers came into this game still searching for their first home league win of the season. Lining up in a positive 4-4-2 formation, Bolton clearly felt their opponents were going to come to the Reebok to defend from the off and hit the Whites on the counter, like so many teams had successfully done since Bolton's relegation to the Championship.

David N'Gog came into the side, partnering Jamaica international Jermaine Beckford up front.  Chung-Yong Lee was employed from the start as his role has varied between a starting berth and substitute appearances. In goal, Andy Lonergan was brought in for the injured Adam Bogdan.  New temporary signing Arran Lee-Barrett was on the bench against his home town club.

Bolton once again started brightly as Jay Spearing tried to impose himself on the game by raising the tempo and getting the ball wide as often as possible. Bolton's early pressure was almost rewarded in spectacular fashion as Jermaine Beckford went close with an acrobatic effort.

The Trotters continued to control the game, but a theme of the season continued, as they did not have the quality to create a chance when space was at such a premium.  This problem has been especially evident at home, as teams come to defend at the Reebok. There is no player willing to receive the ball in the pockets of space created by the willing running of Bolton's forwards, particularly Beckford. Later in the game, the Wanderers reverted to a ‘Plan B' but we will touch on this later.

Wanderers always looked vulnerable to a counter-attack caused by a misplaced pass. It was Ipswich Town who would go on and create possibly the chance of the game as David McGoldrick found Ryan Tunnicliffe and, with the goal at his mercy, the on-loan Manchester United midfielder was denied by a wonderful save from goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, to the delight of the Wanderers fans.  Despite that, Wanderers had the measure of the first half and were close again as Beckford fired wide after a David N'Gog cut back. After a half of limited chances, referee David Webb brought the first half to a close.

With Freedman's words still ringing in the ears of the Wanderers players, they started brightly, as they so often have under Freedman. South Korea international Lee brought the best out of Ipswich Goalkeeper Dean Gerken as he pushed the ball over for a corner kick. The themes of the first half continued into the second as Bolton, for all their possession lacked any bite whatsoever.  I am concerned by how many times Dougie Freedman has seen the same thing at home. It may be worth me creating a template for home game match reports in which I insert the opposition names so I can save some time on my weekend for non-football related activity.

Ipswich Town, like every club that visits the Reebok, were a continued threat on the counter as Daryl Murphy cut inside and narrowly missed a golden opportunity to give the Tractor Boys the lead. Minutes later, the hard, willing running of Jermaine Beckford was rewarded as Christophe Berra brought down the front man at the edge of area. With no Chris Eagles on the pitch, Medo Kamara stepped up and curved the ball home past Dean Gerken, who will probably think he could have done more to prevent the Sierra-Leone international midfielder. It was a gift for Bolton. The challenge was to make them pay for it and show some of the ruthlessness that was associated with The Trotters at the end of last season.

Unfortunately, Eight minutes later, Ipswich Town were level. After a blocked effort from distance by Cole Skuse, the ball landed at the feet of David McGoldrick, who fired home his sixth goal of an impressive season so far. Lonergan will have been disappointed not to stop the strike, as the ball bounced right at the former Preston stopper.

It was clear the Bolton Wanderers were desperate to win this game and reacted with the separate introductions of both Chris Eagles and later Rob Hall, though neither was able to make a telling contribution in the final minutes. Bolton reverted to the 'Plan B' of the relentless diagonals of defender Matt Mills, to the discontent of the Wanderers fans. The final whistle was greeted with a round of boos from the remaining Wanderers fans who had chosen to see out the final minutes. The result leaves Bolton hovering slightly above the relegation zone and staring a relegation fight in the face despite now being unbeaten in five. The visitors moved up one place to 13th and will be more than happy with their afternoons work.

Referee: David Webb
Attendance: 15,222