With six games already played in the season and just two points taken from them, Bolton Wanderers desperately needed a win at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday night for several reasons. Three points could have kick started the floundering Trotters, keeping them off the bottom of the table while avoiding their worst league start since 1902. A win would have meant a lot. It didn't happen though.
It started out well enough for Bolton Wanderers, going ahead after just five minutes and taking the lead in a match for just the second time this season. It was Alex Baptiste, the right back, who would score his second of the season (going joint top of the Bolton table) from a well-worked move and solo effort. The long ball came out of the back from Marc Tierney, finding the head of Chris Eagles on the right flank. The winger headed it down to his counterpart, Chung-Yong Lee on the edge of the area, who, at the first time of asking, chested the ball to Baptiste. The right back cut into the area, beating two Derby County defenders before slotting home into the back of the net.
It took just two minutes for Derby County to equalize after Jay Spearing was beaten on the edge of the area before a lovely little backheel pass found Jamie Ward on the left edge of the penalty area. Ward's low cross was well weighted and in the right spot for an onrushing Johnny Russell, who beat the combination of Matt Mills and David Wheater to poke it home at the near post.
Ten minutes after that, Derby would take the lead with Johnny Russell the scorer again. A shot from a Derby County man on the edge of the area took a fortuitous deflection toward Will Hughes, who passed another low ball into the area, this time from the right, for Russell. The scorer once again beat Matt Mills with a lucky bounce seeing the ball hit the back of the net.
The Trotters were not yet done scoring, however, as a lovely bit of interplay in the Bolton half saw Chris Eagles find Chung-Yong Lee in the center. Lee, bringing the ball forward, ran out of space but instead of deciding to take the men on himself, played a calm little ball to Tim Ream in the center of the park. Ream did well to create his own space before playing a long pass to Chris Eagles. The Bolton winger carried the ball forward before letting a shot go from 25 yards with the effort bouncing right in front of Lee Grant, who could not get a hand on it. 2-2.
The second half saw opportunities for both teams with Adam Bogdan and the Bolton defense doing well with a few last ditch stops to keep the Trotters in the game. There were chances for Wanderers late on through second-half substitute David Ngog, who narrowly missed with a diving header from the penalty spot and Jermaine Beckford, who scuffed yet another one-on-one opportunity.
When all was said and done, the Trotters could not pick up the three points for the seventh-straight outing. The opportunities were certainly there with Bolton having attempted 22 shots on the night (only four of which were on target). It is the finishing that is once again biting the Trotters. The chances, specifically Beckford's, were badly spurned and it is exactly that which is presenting the strikers from scoring goals and Wanderers from winning.