Max Clayton returned with a bang as the young striker found a last-minute equaliser to rescue Bolton Wanderers from a defeat at lowly Coventry. The former Crewe youngster has suffered numerous serious injuries in his time at the club but today all the rehab must have seemed worth it as he took his goal well to earn an out of sorts Bolton a point, though they certainly didn’t deserve it.
Phil Parkinson made three changes to the side that had beaten Scunthorpe on Saturday with Tom Thorpe, Zach Clough and an injured Lawrie Wilson replaced by Liam Trotter, Saturday’s match winner James Henry and Derik Osede. Though changes were expected given the quick turnaround, they appeared to have disrupted the team’s flow in the early stages as Bolton were generally poor an allowed an average Coventry side to dominate them. The Sky Blues had fired some warning shots towards Ben Alnwick’s goal and their new signing up front, Stuart Beavon, was looking lively.
And it was Beavon who set up Coventry’s goal on 37 minutes for Marcus Tudgay. The former Burton Albion player, who was only signed the day before, beat Mark Beevers on the right flank before crossing for Kyel Reid to nod the ball towards Tudgay to tap in. It was poor defending all-round with Beevers beaten far too easily and Derik nowhere near Reid as he won the first header.
The home side could easily have got a second as another new signing, Nathan Clarke, headed wide when unmarked from a corner. Wanderers left the field to a chorus of deserved boos.
Not much changed in the second half until Parkinson brought on both Zach Clough and Max Clayton for Trotter and Henry. While both couldn’t say they didn’t deserve to be removed, the vitriol that was shown towards Trotter was truly unacceptable in my view. The man had just come back into the side after a long spell out and may well have not been having a good game, but the booing and jeering as he came off was nothing short of a disgrace.
This is not how fans should be treating their players. We have come a long way this season and that has been due in no small part to the fans backing the team. This shouldn’t be how we treat them after one mediocre showing.
Rant aside, the change was needed and brought a decent response from Bolton.
This culminated in Gary Madine being hauled down in the box and the penalty was awarded after some deliberation between the officials. Clough stepped up and made no mistake, sending Lee Burge the wrong way. It seemed as though Bolton would now go on and win the game given the 23 minutes left on the clock.
However, in typical Bolton style, they were 2-1 down just two minutes later.
Beavon had been a real threat all-game with good hold up play and non-stop running, thus when he was teed up after a great run by Coventry left-back, Ryan Haynes, he wasn’t going to miss. The ball was fired inside the near post with Alnwick helpless and Wanderers were left with it all to do again.
The remaining 20 minutes were uneventful as Bolton created very little in the way of chances, the best of them created by Clough but finished poorly from the edge of the box.
Jamie Proctor was brought on for Derik, who didn’t look comfortable at full-back, but all hope seemed lost regardless of the effort up-front. That was until Clough misdirected a volley to Andrew Taylor whose cross found Clayton free in the box. Would he panic and fluff his big chance?
Not on your life!
He found the corner and won Bolton a point. Gary Madine had a great chance at the end to snatch all 3, but a point it was in the end. Bolton will have to be better than this on the road if they to stay at the top, but this result was the mark of a side in form and could be vitally important come the end of the season.