Bolton Wanderers came into the weekend's fixture with Charlton Athletic after a disappointing defeat at local rivals Wigan Athletic. Sitting precariously over the relegation zone, Chris Powell's Charlton side came to the Reebok hoping to get some much needed points on the board and take advantage of Wanderer's home fragilities.
It was the visitors who started the game the strongest, particularly down their right side with the barnstorming runs of Lawrie Wilson, and Alex Baptiste continued to look lost in the left-hand side of Wanderers' defence. Charlton were creating chances with ease with Wilson and Yann Kermorgant coming close. It was the former who put the visitors deservedly ahead with a well struck left footed hit after a whipped cross from Rhoys Wiggins.
Bolton were struggling and the crowd were becoming increasingly unsettled, the most the Whites could muster in the first fifteen minutes was a blocked Chris Eagles effort. They began to improve slightly, but Joe Mason and Neil Danns chances from distance were all they could muster.
The game was opening up a little as Wanderers pressed higher up the pitch and both teams were creating chances. Kermorgant was involved in everything The Addicks did well and after work from lone front-man Simon Church, Kermorgant's long distance shot was saved comfortably.
Half-time was on the horizon and Wanderers needed a shot in the arm as things just seemed to feel desperate in The Reebok. This anxiety was evident on the pitch as The Trotters pushed for an equaliser. Joe Mason had a shot saved low after a cross from creative fulcrum Andre Moritz.
Moments later, Wanderers were level. A moment of composure which Wanderers have lacked in recent weeks was provided from an unlikely source. On loan right-back Kevin McNaughton gained control of the ball in the penalty area before steadying himself and coolly lifting the ball over outstretched Charlton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick. It was his first goal in 5 years, only the fifth of his career, and the defender certainly enjoyed it.
Buoyed by the goal just before half time, Bolton looked to try and get themselves ahead and Joe Mason had two headed opportunities shortly after the break, neither of which he converted.
The game then went into a lull as Charlton made their intentions clear and looked to frustrate Bolton. The home side were unable to break the league struggler's down and could not create any meaningful chances on goal.
The crowd began to sense the Wanderers were lacking quality and as the clock continued to tick, the anxiety continued to build. Wanderers fans were keen to see the introduction of match-winner Mark Davies and on the 72nd minute, Freedman granted their wish, this was followed soon after by the introduction of Jermaine Beckford. The introductions did little to add any bite to the Wanderers side. Credit must be given to Charlton as they wanted to frustrate the Wanderers side and the crowd with it, and certainly achieved that.
As the full-time whistle approached, Wanderers threw their predictable final dice as Rob Hall was introduced for Neil Danns in what was the midfielder's last appearance at home for The Wanderers, Danns was justly warmly waved off and his efforts to the Bolton cause have been greatly appreciated.
It was not until added time that Wanderers caused Charlton any stress, Tim Ream benefitted from Rob Hall's impact but his shot was blocked. His centre-back partner Matt Mills also had headed chance created by winger Hall but he could only direct high and wide.
Bolton created one final opportunity with Jay Spearing firing a decent chance over after receiving the ball from a corner. The shot would cap off Spearing's day as the former Liverpool man continued to struggle with his passing and general ball retention skills.
Another poor day at home for Bolton Wanderers, how many of these can we afford at The Reebok before we start worrying about what's below us rather than what's above us.