Off the back of an encouraging home win last time out against Sheffield Wednesday, the air was filled with optimism as Bolton took on QPR at the Macron in search of another three points.
The opposition, who, in terms of their away form, we're equally as anxious about the outcome of todays game and were clearly just as keen to take all three points back to the Capital. Wanderers remained unchanged from last week's win in a 4-2-3-1 formation which saw Adam Armstrong start out wide on the left, Ameobi on the right, Vela in the middle and Karl Henry return to face his former employees along side Captain Darren Pratley in front of the back four.
QPR started with danger man Jamie Mackie in attack and former Wanderer Alex Baptiste in their back line whilst prolific striker Conor Washington began his afternoon on the bench along side infamous FA Cup goal-grabber Matt Smith.
Wanderers started the brighter, almost grabbing a goal inside 90 seconds when a looping Karl Henry effort nearly dropped in behind 'keeper Smithies followed by numerous other efforts on the QPR goal by the boys in white.
On the 17th minute mark, applause rippled round the Macron as a show of support for ex-whites striker Ivan Klasnic who has recently undergone a third kidney transplant operation, get well soon Klas!
Despite only having 36% possession in the first half, Wanderers looked to be dominating and made it count as a well worked corner lead to skipper Pratley launching himself at Madine's glancing header across goal, wrong-footing Smithies and nodded into the far corner.
Following Bolton's streak of attacking moves, Ian Holloway's men began to respond which forced Ben Alnwick into making some excellent saves and centre back partnering Wheavers to produce some 'thunderous tackles' in the words of the club's Twitter social media admins. Other impressive performances came from Sammy Ameobi who offered his usual notable presence out wide. Karl Henry being his usual aggressive self offering his solidarity and not being afraid to get stuck in made the midfield seem much stronger. Josh Vela's spark in the middle of the park made us look a better team which he seems to have a habit of doing whilst both full backs similarly looked solid.
Half time came round rather quickly it seemed as a jubilant Wanderers went into the break on the front foot. No changes were made at half time although QPR were forced into a change just before the interval as Conor Washington replaced an injured Ryan Manning.
The second half proved more of a task for Wanderers as QPR grew in confidence on the attack and looked particularly lively on the break. Washington, who seemed to be the oppositions main threat was excellently kept quiet by our defence which looked particularly solid today and seems to be jelling well together as Phil Parkinson's current favoured back four.
Despite a couple of smart moves from Bolton, it looked unlikely that we'd be adding to our newly-found form in front of goal this time round. Soon enough, ten men were set up behind the ball as we invited pressure onto us as tends to be the norm after the hour mark in recent weeks. QPR's multiple chances and pressure eventually payed off in the form an an inevitable equaliser. Idrissa Sylla, who had been a pain in the backside all afternoon had just nearly put the visitors ahead with a skilful flick which Ben Alnwick was equal to. However, Sylla, determined to get his goal, repeated the same flick on the turn which dumb-founded Alnwick and somehow snuck in at the near post.
Ten minutes to go and nerves were as bad as they were last week with the game looking like it could swing either way. Despite both side's late pressure and the belated introduction of Adam Le Fondre in the dying minutes, there was no change to the scoreline which seemed to be fair result given the quality that both teams offered and showed on the day.
Not to be this time round unfortunately then. A trip to Craven Cottage next Saturday for Phil Parkinson's men where I hope we can continue to make gradual progress and make our way up off the bottom of the table.