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Match Report: Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 Bolton Wanderers

Wanderers went down 3-2 at Hillsborough despite fighting back from behind twice

David Wheater has been by far and away Bolton's best player this season, and notched his first goal of the season at Hillsborough
David Wheater has been by far and away Bolton's best player this season, and notched his first goal of the season at Hillsborough
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers are now 282 days without an away win having succumbed to a 3-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Tuesday evening.

This may sound bad but, in typical Bolton style, the visitors actually put in one of their best performances of the season against their play-off chasing hosts.

Wanderers were again without Mark Davies, who now seems all set for a move to The Owls, while fellow rumoured outbound teammates Josh Vela and Zach Clough were in the squad, with the latter only on the bench. Liam Trotter came into the side for his first start in many a moon alongside Vela in the heart of the Wanderers midfield.

Wednesday began brightly, with Kieran Lee stinging the fingertips of Ben Amos with a venomous early strike, Gary Hooper dragging a decent chance wide, and former Whites loanee Barry Bannan pulling the strings in midfield.

Indeed, the home side made their early pressure count after just 14 minutes. Wellington Silva was guilty of giving away possession in midfield and Wednesday broke away, ending up with Fernando Forestieri curling a superb shot past Amos from all of 30 yards.

But Wanderers didn't let their heads go down, and all of five minutes later they were back in it. Silva did what we need him to do, bursting past his full-back then delivering a low cross that 'evaded' Liam Trotter and Gary Madine knocked home from six yards.

Wellington was at it again a few minutes later, knocking in a fine cross that Darren Pratley contrived to fire well over the bar. Then from another cross Madine headed goalwards and Owls keeper Joe Wildsmith nearly made a mess of it but gathered at the second attempt.

Wanderers' best chances towards the end of the second half both game from direct free-kicks, but unfortunately they allowed Liam Feeney to take them. The first went well over the bar and the second, predictably, was fired straight into the wall - and you have to question why Feeney is anywhere near direct free kicks.

The home side began the second half as they did the first, well and truly on top, and yet again took full advantage. Madine was fouled on the half-way line then Wednesday broke down the other end Hooper tapped home from close range at the back post.

Straight after that setback Madine had a great chance to score but hit it straight at the keeper, then had another chance from a Feeney through-ball but was again well denied by Wildsmith.

Ten minutes after going behind Wanderers showed yet more character by getting back on level terms for a second time. Liam Feeney knocked a nice free-kick into the near post from the left, David Wheater stooped and somehow sent a looping header over a crowd of players and into the far corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

Minutes later Madine again went close, knocking a header narrowly wide of the post from another nice Feeney cross. Then Bolton won another free-kick in the D of the Wednesday penalty area and this time Wellington shot narrowly wide with a fine effort.

But soon enough the home side once again moved into the lead. Gary Hooper latched onto a loose ball in the box and knocked it over Wheater with a suspiciously high looking boot then slammed the ball into the top corner.

And Bolton should have been on level immediately, as Wellington does superbly to tee up Pratley who somehow manages to put the ball wide.

Neil Lennon left it until far too late to introduce Clough, in place of Vela, and young Kaiyne Woolery, in place of Wellington, and neither had a chance to get involved in the game or effect a change in proceedings.

Hooper saw an effort superbly denied by Amos to prevent him his hat-trick, then Woolery skinned his full-back only to be crudely hacked down by Bannan.

But Wanderers were unable to fight back for a third time and fell to yet another defeat on the road. However, this was a much improved performance by The Trotters and they were unlucky to end up the losing side, so this should give them hope for the future - especially with a clash against former boss Dougie Freedman to come on Saturday.