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Match Report: Doncaster v Bolton

After a late winner from Joe Mason away at Huddersfield, Bolton travelled to Yorkshire for the second time in a week with real confidence buoyed with their recent away form which had seen The Whites stretch their unbeaten away run to an impressive five games. Despite performing above expectations this season, Wanderers opponents Doncaster Rovers look likely to be dragged into the relegation battle with seasons end looming and were desperate to put three points on the board against Freedman’s under performing Wanderers.

Doncaster Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium
Doncaster Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium
Tony Marshall

After his late heroics in Huddersfield, on-loan forward Joe Mason was favoured from the start and the recently much-improved centre back pairing of David Wheater and Zat Knight was preferred once more with Tim Ream again deployed on the left side of defence.

Bolton looked to start strong and apply the pressure to Doncaster who certainly needed the three points more than their guests.

Bolton made sure the early pressure would count as they would dispatch their first opportunity of the game with  Neil Danns slotting home from the edge of the area after receiving the ball from Alan Hutton.

It was the perfect start for Bolton and they were soon in dreamland as some great link up play between on-loan forwards Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Mason saw Mason able to create some space with some quick movement and slot the ball home for Bolton's second, was a great goal from the Cardiff City forward but the somewhat subdued celebrations from The Wanderers players added weight that this is now a team playing without the pressure of either potential promotion or relegation.

Doncaster on the other hand are a team which are under increasing pressure and were desperate to respond and with a fantastic David Cotteril free-kick, Rovers found themselves back in the game.

The Wales International midfielder was able to curl the ball home from almost thirty yards beyond the outstretch on form Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Bolton's resilience was now to be tested and many doubted with little to play for would Bolton have the drive to secure their successive away win.

Primarily, attack was the best form of defence for The Wanderers as Jutkiewicz, who has recently stated his desire to remain at The Reebok, thundered an effort at Doncaster's on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who must be the 400th Manchester United loanee that Bolton have faced this season.

As the half progressed, it was the hosts who became the dominant force and a flurry of corners before half time tested the defensive strength of Bolton Wanderers.

Paul Keegan struck the bar before Doncaster Rovers striker and international R ‘n' b star Chris Brown forced a save from Adam Bogdan with a low header.

By the time the half time whistle came, Bolton Wanderers were glad to see it.

Doncaster Rovers were looking more and more likely and many fans were hoping Bolton would try and secure the game with a third goal rather than try and see out the game for a full against a side desperate for points.

Approaching matters with real intent, Doncaster would begin the second half how they ended the first, with a flurry of corners which Bolton successfully navigated.

Home fans' favourite Billy Sharp was beginning to find his feet in the game with the striker having a couple of headed chances.

With their squad of familiar faces, including former Wanderers defender Abdoulaye Méité, Doncaster introduced Gabriel Tamas for Lucas Neil as they continued to try and force their way back into the game.

Doncaster were creating chances throughout the half but Bolton were standing firm, recent signing Liam Trotter, the subject of praise this week from his manager Dougie Freedman, was introduced for Joe Mason in an attempt to plug the flow of Doncaster through the Wanderers midfield.

The change did certainly help the Wanderers cause as the game became much scrappier  suiting the Wanderers who's travelling support of 717 were looking at the clock anxiously.

Despite the battling resolve of the Bolton defence, Doncaster would muster some real chances to snatch a much-valued point for the Yorkshire club, James Coppinger's effort from distance would be saved in the top corner from Adam Bogdan and former boyfriend of singer Rihanna, Chris Brown would see his point-blank header go wide of the post.

In the closing moments it would be Bolton who would be given the opportunity to settle proceedings as a counter attack saw Neil Danns bearing down on the goal but the former Leicester City man would scuff his shot high and wide in front of the expectant Wanderers faithful.

The missed chance would matter not however after 6 minutes of added time, referee Gary Sutton blew the full time whistle and Bolton had secured successively away victories and extended their unbeaten away run to six games.

Bolton's opponents on Saturday also hail from our beloved neighbours in the White Rose county as Dougie Freedman's side welcome Barnsley to The Reebok Stadium as Bolton continue to put a good run of results together in preparation for next seasons campaign