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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers vs Nottingham Forest

After a crushing 3-0 defeat away at Watford, Dougie Freedman’s Bolton side needed to bounce back and quickly as they welcomed Stuart Pearce’s Nottingham Forest side to the Macron Stadium.

What a shame
What a shame
Scott Heavey

After successive poor showings, workhorse Darren Pratley was sacrificed as Joe Mason went straight into the team to make his third debut for Bolton after joining on a season-long loan from Championship rivals Cardiff City. Adam Bogdan was also reinstated as number one in place of Andy Lonergan. As for Nottingham Forest, Britt Assombalonga was introduced into the side after his move from League One side Peterborough United.

Bolton needed to start quickly and shake off the disappointment of their opener at Watford and got off to an absolute flyer as Joe Mason guided a Jay Spearing cross beyond outstretched goalkeeper Karl Darlow. A dream start for both Mason and Wanderers alike and the sense of relief around The Macron Stadium was palpable.

Nottingham Forest intended to hit back immediately and forced the best out of the returning Adam Bogdan as recent signing Michail Antonio headed at the Hungarian stopper.

Antonio continued to find himself in good positions and fired wide from outside the box after receiving the ball from Chris Cohen. The game was quite open and both teams looked dangerous as Bolton's frontman Craig Davies had an effort blocked.

With the game being so open it was no surprised the next goal came as the dangerous Antonio found new signing Britt Assombalonga who netted to the delight of the travelling away fans.

Their joy was short lived however as Bolton hit back immediately after a defensive calamity from the away side saw David Wheater capatilise to poke the ball home from the far post. A real piece of luck for Bolton but it was certainly welcomed greatly by a delighted Macron Stadium crowd.

It was now crucial for Bolton to solidify and get to half time in front to give them a real chance of winning their first home game of the season. This opportunity was thrown away as newly-appointed club captain Jay Spearing inexplicably launched himself into Britt Assombalonga. Assombalonga dusted himself off to fire the penalty between Adam Bogdan's legs to level things up again before the half time whistle.

The half time break saw neither side make a change but it did see the introduction of a well-received half-time competition the majority of which your writer missed as he replenished with lager and the notorious Macron Stadium cheeseburger.

Bolton started brightly again as marksmen Craig Davies & Joe Mason both had efforts blocked. Bolton were unable to maintain control of the game and the visitors began to find themselves on top.

Nottingham Forest midfielder and footballs greatest waste of talent Andy Reid began to find his feet and was pulling the strings for the visitors. The lively Michail Antonio, after providing Assombalonga with a decent chance to put Forest in front, also missed with a header from an Andy Reid cross as Bolton looked to hang on.

As Bolton were struggling to get a grip of the game and Dougie Freedman was desperate to inject some attacking impetus he introduced Darren Pratley and shortly after Liam Trotter which was not well received by some of the Macron faithful.

The substitutions did not help and Forest continued to dominate as Reid and Antonio had further chances to give the away side the lead. As they were well on top, the travelling side left it late before changing things.

The best chance to win the game in the closing stages found Wanderers' Craig Davies who wasted the good work of Kevin McNaughton by heading over. Davies was soon replaced by Jermaine Beckford, so he could run around for five minutes.

All in all it was an entertaining fixture and also a good point for Bolton, one many would have taken before the game.