Steve McClaren and his Derby County side are harbouring genuine promotion hopes, The Rams have risen to the higher end of the table progressively over the course of the campaign and are contesting Burnley for the second promotion position behind runaway leaders Leicester City.
Despite hopes from some quarters that the same side would be named, Bolton did make changes. David Wheater, still recovering from a lengthy lay-off, was rested as Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton was handed a debut. Andre Moritz was rewarded for his clinical substitute appearances by being selected ahead of Joe Mason, who himself has been in impressive form since returning to The Reebok Stadium for a second loan spell.
Despite the initial exchanges moving at a rather slow pace, it was not long before Derby County got a real grip on the game. The midlands club managed to string together successive corners but the hosts struggled to muster any real chances to test Adam Bogdan. Recent free-kick hero and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin managed to get a shot away but the on-form Hungarian International Goalkeeper was equal to the chance.
As the half progressed, Derby became more and more dangerous. Winger Jamie Ward came close on the 36th minute after receiving the ball from Simon Dawkins but his effort missed narrowly and Bolton could almost relax although they were tested again soon after as Bogdan was called into action from Martin.
Bolton, despite being under pressure, were toothless and Brazilian Andre Moritz's rasping effort from distance was straight at the opposition goalkeeper. The energetic Neil Danns also tested Derby but his attempt before half time was fired over after being found by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Wanderers were certainly glad to see half time but it did not provide them with too much respite as Derby County came out firing again after the break. Derby's towering centre-back Richard Keogh rose above the Bolton defence from a Jamie Ward set piece and Simon Dawkins squandered a chance soon after being provided again by the impressive Jamie Ward.
Bolton looked determined to leave the midlands with their clean sheet intact. Derby continued to press and created chances frequently. The creativity of Andre Moritz was removed from the fray and replaced with Liam Trotter but this did nothing to allay the Derby County pressure.
Bolton were looking to counter but were doing so with mixed success. Trotter found Lukas Jutkiewicz who managed to get his low effort on target. Looking to add further threat to their game, Bolton introduced Chung-Yong Lee and the South Korean was involved in much of what Bolton did in the latter parts of the game.
It would be the hosts who created perhaps the most clear cut chance of the game in the dying seconds as late introduction Connor Salmon missing a glaring opportunity to secure all three points. The Ireland International was in space and seemed to find goalkeeper Adam Bogdan when it appeared he could not miss.
A great result for Bolton Wanderers but not the performance to match it and I'm sure I wasn't the only to toast a drink to Connor Salmon last night. Cheers Mate.