It was a frustrating afternoon at the Macron as a lacklustre Bolton Wanderers and a poor Leeds United side had to settle for a point a piece.
Neil Lennon made three changes from the team that eased past Wigan Athletic in the FA cup the previous week. Andy Lonergan, Matt Mills and Eidur Gudjohnsen returned in place of Adam Bogdan, David Wheater and Zach Clough.
You could be forgiven for thinking it was eleven changes as Bolton got off to an awful start. With the wind swirling a speculative Leeds through ball caught out the Wanderers defence, Lonergan was a little slow off his line and allowed the Leeds winger to nip in and beat him to the ball. Although the Bolton keeper pulled his hands away the Leeds player accepted the invitation to go over and the referee who bought the dive couldn't wait to award the penalty.
Austin made no mistake and the 37,000 Leeds fans at the opposite end of the ground celebrated.
After the early setback Bolton grew into the game as the half went on but struggled to create many clear chances. A couple of scrambled efforts from corners and a Gudjohnsen free kick was the best we could produce.
Three minutes into the second half and Bolton were deservedly level. Again the referee bought a penalty appeal as Darren Pratley very cutely went over on the edge of the area and without a moments hesitation he evened up the penalty count. Eidur Gudjohnsen picked up were he left off 14 years ago and scored for Bolton.
Both sides had chances to pinch all three points, although neither deserved them, Gudjohnsen had a goal bound volley blocked and Lonergan saved from Byram. A draw was probably a fair result with little quality on show in difficult conditons.
In his post match comments Neil Lennon summed up the situation, describing the performance as lacking in creativity. Certainly the absent Chung-Yong Lee and injured Mark Davies, Max Clayton and Zach Clough could have made the difference today. Reinforcements in the forward areas are crucial this month if Bolton are to mount any sort of play off push. Emile Heskey is a decent stop gap but isn't going to get enough goals and Craig Davies needs to rediscover the form he showed before his hamstring injury.
Fingers crossed that those reinforcements also include an alternative to current default pick on the wing Liam Feeney. He has his moments, as shown by his two goals against Cardiff City and the assist against Huddersfield Town; However, he is not nearly consistent enough with his crossing and regularly concedes possession.
Despite the lack of quality in the final third today it is pleasing to see Bolton no longer rolling over when it gets difficult. The back four was again solid enough other than the first few minutes and the midfield put in a good shift to protect them.
Josh Vela continues to impress at right back and it was also nice to see another youth team product make his debut as Tom Walker replaced Gudjohnsen in the final minute.
Next up are in form Sheffield Wednesday in a week and it will require a better performance if we are to bring any points back from Hillsborough.
Lonergan, Vela, Ream, Dervite (Wheater, 67), Mills, Danns, Pratley, Trotter (Davies, 72), Feeney, Gudjohnsen (Walker, 90), Heskey.
Silvestri, Berardi, Taylor, Bellusci, Cooper, Austin, Murphy, Byram, Cook, Sloth (Mowatt, 86), Morison.
Attendance - 18,844