Bolton Manager Dougie Freedman had newly signed Liam Trotter on the bench and made one change to the starting XI, handing young striker Lukas Jutkiewicz his full debut. Both teams had chances early on in quite an even start to the game. Ipswich Town earned themselves two early corners which culminated in a David McGoldrick shot wide after a Daryl Murphy knockdown. For the Wanderers, new and of course lone striker Jutkiewicz was making himself a nuisance early on. First he came close with a header following an excellent cross from Neil Danns, then he had an effort blocked five minutes later following work in the wide areas from Tim Ream. The follow up was hit wide by Mark Davies as Bolton enjoyed quite a promising start.
Ipswich created some chances of their own as Frank Nouble had successive efforts on goal. Bolton, surprisingly, were able to stifle the danger and continue to get a real foothold in the away fixture. As the half progressed, the tempo somewhat reduced but it was the Wanderers who looked most likely to score. Danns was even able to test Ipswich goalkeeper Dean Gerkin.
Jutkiewicz continued to be a menace to the Ipswich defence as he demonstrated a willingness to try his luck from distance. The on-loan Middlesbrough forward had an effort blocked after receiving the ball from Alex Baptiste and then fired wide after controlling a header from the very active Mark Davies. For all their huff, Bolton had failed to carve out a clear cut chance, but could take great heart in their overall control of the tie. Most important, the Trotters were not allowing Ipswich to supply their talented forward McGoldrick.
The second half plan must surely of been to build on what was achieved in the first half and not allow Ipswich the opportunity to get a foothold in the game. Wanderers, buoyed by their own encouraging first half performance, started quickly and full-back Alex Baptiste had a fine effort saved by Gerkin. The hard-working Darren Pratley also (quite typically) fired a shot over the bar.
Despite the encouraging start to the second half, Bolton were once again the architects of their own downfall as Andy Lonergan, who has seen his form decline in recent weeks, fumbled the ball. Then, in a fit of panic, Lonergan scythed down Ipswich Town forward David McGoldrick as he tried to recollect the ball. The Town forward dusted himself down and gratefully took the chance to fire Ipswich ahead with a well taken penalty into the top left-hand corner. Given the amount of mistakes in recent games by the Wanderers keeper, a strong case can be made for the immediate reinstatement of Hungarian International goalkeeper Adam Bogdan to the starting XI.
The goal changed the tide of the game as The Tractor Boys were instilled with confidence after the gift presented to them. David McGoldrick, Stephen Hunt, Jay Tabb and Daryl Murphy all had opportunities to put the game beyond doubt. This was despite the introduction of Chris Eagles in an attempt by Freedman to add some creativity to the midfield.
Time continued to run out for Bolton Wanderers but it was the home side who were looking most likely to grab the next goal, with McGoldrick in particular looking to pull the trigger whenever the opportunity presented itself. But the Wanderers stood firm in defence. Chris Eagles had an effort saved by Gerkin after more good work from Jutkiewicz, who had a fine game in his first Wanderers start.
With moments remaining, Wanderers last chance fell to new signing Liam Trotter. The midfielder connected on the end of a Chung-Yong Lee cross only to head wide and condemn Bolton to another defeat on the road. It was a frustrating afternoon for Bolton in a game that they really could have won. It is hard to see what can be done to change this side into a winning one, perhaps we should try signing yet another central midfielder and see how that fares.