Bolton doubled their points tally for September with a hard fought goalless draw at bottom of the table Ipswich Town, despite being reduced to ten men just after the half hour mark. Former Sunderland defender Marc Wilson, became the first player to be dismissed on his first league start for Wanderers since a certain Ivan Campo was given his marching orders back in 2002.
In a much changed starting line up, which saw both Mark Beevers and captain David Wheater omitted, Wilson was issued with a straight red card on 34 minutes after he was adjudged to have brought down striker Kayden Jackson, as he raced through on goal.
After a disappointing midweek defeat at high flying Middlesbrough, Parky had opted to freshen up his chargers, adopting a more attacking line up with the inclusion of attacking midfielder Erhun Oztumer and wingers Craig Noone and Will Buckley, as Josh Vela and Gary O’Neil dropped to the bench.
And, in a first half of very few chances, it was the visitors who created the first opportunity on five minutes as Jason Lowe collected Josh Magennis’ flick, firing his effort narrowly wide. Both sides squandered possession far too easily in the opening exchanges, where neither goal was threatened, but it was Wanderers again who carved out another chance as neat play between Jonathan Grounds and Will Buckley led to the first corner, which resulted in Ireland international and summer signing Wilson, flashing an effort just wide.
Ipswich rarely threatened captain Ben Alnwick’s goal, with their only clear cut opportunity coming on 28 minutes. A darting run by Ipswich midfielder Grant Ward saw Joe Williams bring him down and from the resultant free-kick, Gwion Edwards fired in a shot straight at the Bolton ‘keeper, This was a game that was there for the taking, as Ipswich looked poor in the opening half hour.
Then on 34 minutes, came the game changer. It began when Ward evaded two tackles down the left and fed Jackson, who outpaced Marc Wilson resulting in a coming together on the edge of the box. Referee Steve Martin raced over to brandish a straight red to the Bolton defender. The resulting free kick from Grant Ward was deflected behind for a corner which was subsequently cleared, but Parky was then forced to sacrifice play maker Ozzie for substitute defender David Wheater and our attacking endeavour was significantly reduced.
As the first half fizzled out, Bolton got more men behind the ball and the passages of play became more scrappy. No goals and no shots on target for the Whites, in what can only be described as a decidedly average first half
With a man advantage and without a win all season, Ipswich manager, Paul Hurst decided to bring on Fulham loanee Tayo Edun in place of Trevoh Chalobah, who had already been booked in the first half, to see if they could capitalise on their numerical advantage
Matthew Pennington had the first chance of the second half with a poor long range shot that flew well wide of the target, after Edwards’ cross from the right was only half-cleared by Jonathan Grounds.
Ipswich began to threaten more with Jon Nolan and Jonas Knudsen both having a chance a piece but neither really threatened captain Ben’s goal. Will Buckley had Bolton’s best chance of the half with a quarter of an hour to go, but his tame shot, after a flick on from a busy Craig Noone, was gathered easily by Dean Gerkin in the Ipswich goal.
Second half substitutes Jonathan Walters (meh) and Jordan Graham came on in the 71st minute to add a bit of ammunition up front for Ipswich but Walters, who had been struggling all week with an Achilles problem, went down in the penalty area in the 78th and was withdrawn soon after. As the Tractor boys had made all three substitutions it meant both sides would see out the game with ten men.
Sensing a chance to nick all three points, Bolton pushed forward and had a rare chance as David Wheater had a goalbound shot charged down late on, Ipswich also had chances, with Ben Alnwick being forced to pull off a truly world class save as Ipswich skipper, Luke Chambers sent a glancing header goal bound, following Graham’s free kick from the left.
As the final whistle blew, neither side could break the deadlock in the end and it was honours even in a game that failed to get going. Bolton failed to create any shots on target in a game of few chances. This may be a concern for Parky but the lads ended their Portman Road hoodoo of defeats in their previous five visits.
The sending off really changed the game where Bolton’s attacking spirit was prematurely ended and I feel for poor little Ozzie as he was axed so early on. Without the dismissal I think we would have gone on to win the game as Ipswich were poor and are now the only team not to register a victory in the Championship, after Birmingham’s surprise away win at Leeds.
That said, there are positives to be taken from the game despite the feeling of a missed opportunity. Jack Hobbs was immense at the centre of the defence and a real contender for a permanent starting berth, we have stopped the run of consecutive defeats, we have kept a clean sheet away from home and picked up a point.
Phil Parkinson was disappointed with the sending off but all in all was happy with a draw.
”I’m very pleased with the point. I thought the sending-off was harsh and I’ve seen it back again and there’s minimal, if any contact.
”If you take everything into consideration, a day less rest than Ipswich, a long trip down yesterday and down to 10 men, if you add all those things together it’s a performance of real character for us.”
Fat Frank is in town next week, as Derby County will become the next team to lose at the UniBol.