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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Fulham

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Zach Clough took on Fulham almost single-handedly, only to be let down by his defence

Zach Clough scored twice as Bolton drew with Fulham
Zach Clough scored twice as Bolton drew with Fulham
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers spurned another great chance to end their almost comical wait for one of those mythical victory things as they drew 2-2 with Fulham on Saturday.

Neil Lennon made two changes to the side that had fought back from two goals down to draw at Charlton in midweek, with Gary Madine replacing Emile Heskey to partner Zach Clough and Darren Pratley returning from injury in place of the now injured Josh Vela.

Wanderers had started off fairly brightly, but the game took an all too familiar twist as mistake-prone defender Prince Desire-Gouano handed a goal on a plate to the visitors. A hopeful ball over the top looked innocuous until you realised that Prince was underneath it. Rather than simply head the ball back to Amos, Prince had a rush of blood and inexplicably tried to turn away from the onrushing Ross McCormack, who claimed possession and teed up on-loan Everton full-back Luke Garbutt for his first senior goal. In fairness it was a decent strike by Garbutt, but it was an absolutely farcical mistake by Prince.

That mistake visibly affected Wanderers' players and they struggled as Fulham increasingly grew into the game. The home side could have been two or even three up before the break, but young striker Mousa Dembele was guilty of missing two gilt-edged chances and Alex Kacaniklic cracked an effort against the bar.

The match swung in Wanderers' favour with two incidents in the space of 60 seconds on the hour mark. Kacaniklic broke through the middle of the Bolton defence only to be thwarted by a superb save from Ben Amos. The hosts went up the other end and dragged themselves level with an excellent goal. The again impressive Rob Holding picked out Mark Davies, who jinked into the area, picked out Clough and then the little striker did the rest, finishing with an expert finish into the bottom corner.

Clough was at it again 13 minutes later, putting Wanderers into the lead with a tidy close range finish. Credit for the goal has to go to the much maligned Liam Feeney, who did superbly to burst down the right wing, threw a cheeky stepover to get to the byline and whipped over a fantastic cross that left Clough a tap-in.

Suddenly Wanderers fans believed that finally, finally we were set for all three points and to move within just three points of safety. But that hope was short lived as Fulham were soon back on level terms thanks to their £11m Championship striker. Emile Heskey gave away a free-kick fully 35 yards out, and McCormack stepped up to fire an excellent free-kick over the wall and into the bottom left corner of Amos' net.

Minutes before the equaliser Lennon had made a couple of questionable substitutions, with Neil Danns replacing Jay Spearing, who had impressed again in midfield, and more concerning withdrawing Clough for Heskey. Wanderers still could and perhaps should have still sealed all three points, as Feeney missed a great chance to score at the back post, then Heskey was unfortunate to fire a shot narrowly over late on.

The return of Clough is absolutely vital and he's looking much more comfortable in his role up front, frankly looking like the only player we have who has a real goal threat. The little forward also seems to bring the best out of the likes of Davies, Madine and Feeney, so hopefully he can sharpen his match fitness and the side can build on the performances against Charlton and Fulham in the next few weeks.

We can again count ourselves unlucky not to have beaten Fulham, following a spirited second half showing and again scoring twice. But Wanderers simply have to start winning these games to have any chance of survival. Failure to beat Fulham leaves us without a victory since beating Wolves at home on September 12th, which means that it's now 100 days since we won and by the time of our next game on Saturday we'll have been winless in 105 days.

However, we are miraculously still only five points away from safety, and now have two massive games at Rotherham on Boxing Day and at home to Blackburn Rovers next Monday. As ridiculous as this may sound, win both of those and who knows what could happen.