TOWN 2 BOLTON 2
Vaughan snatches a late point
James Vaughan returned from injury to rescue a point for Town against Bolton.
The on loan Norwich man smashed in the equaliser with four minutes remaining after Mark Davies and Chris Eagles had given the visitors the lead.
The Terriers started well and took the lead when Zat Knight turned Oliver Norwood’s corner into his own goal. Bolton responded well in the second half, but should have been out of sight had it not been for Alex Smithies’ superb save from Chris Eagles’ spot kick.
Simon Grayson made four changes to his side for the visit of Bolton. Starting in defence Paul Dixon replaced Joel Lynch at left-back, the Welsh international picked up a hamstring injury against Leeds.
Oliver Norwood and Lee Novak also returned to the side after sitting out last weekend’s West Yorkshire derby. On loan Norwich man James Vaughan returned to the starting line-up after sitting out the past few weeks with a thigh injury.
The opening quarter to the game saw plenty of lively action from both sides. The visitors burst in to attack in the opening minute when Keith Andrews’ effort forced Alex Smithies to produce a fantastic reflex save, diving low to his left to push the ball away from danger. Town’s stopper was tested again moments later by Chris Eagles as he palmed away his powerful drive from inside the area.
Despite Bolton’s quick start, it was Town who grabbed the lead in the 9th minute through a Zat Knight own goal. The defender leapt to challenge Anthony Gerrard as Oliver Norwood’s corner came in, but his slight touch turned the ball in to the bottom corner of Adam Bogdan’s net.
Bolton responded with a left wing attack with Jay Spearing supplying a precise ball over to Stephen Warnock. The left-back’s angled ball across rebounded out to Andrews who smashed a shot inches over the crossbar.
In the 16th minute, Chris Atkinson sparked a terrific series of efforts that could, and should have, doubled Town’s advantage. The Academy graduate broke away over the half way line and laid the ball off to Adam Clayton. The midfielder lost control for a split second but managed to get a shot off which was saved by the outstretched Bogdan. Simon Church raced to the by line to pull it back for joint Town top scorer Novak who smashed the ball against the crossbar from an acute angle.
Bolton could have equalised on the half hour mark had it not been for the impressive Jack Hunt’s goal line clearance. Kevin Davies volleyed the ball into the ground for it to bounce over the arms of Smithies and Town fans held their breath as Hunt kept the Terriers ahead with his header off the line.
With five minutes left until the break, Hunt was on the attack as he sprinted down the right wing and did well to cut inside Stephen Warnock before unleashing a left footed drive that was blocked by Knight.
The visitors upped their intensity in the second half as Chung Yong Lee had the first chance of the half for the Trotters.
Eagles then had an opportunity to pull the scores level as he was put through on goal, but was stopped by a superb tackle from Hunt on the cover.
On the hour mark, Mark Davies attempt to equalise was not much better as he blasted wide of the target. Meanwhile, Norwood’s volleyed shot from 25 yards off of a throw-in was caught comfortably by Bogdan.
Mark Davies wasn’t to be stopped though and he soon got the crucial equaliser with his fine finish on 68 minutes. The midfielder sprinted in to the Town box before coolly placing the ball into the bottom left corner of Smithies’ goal.
With 15 minutes to play, the pressure was on and Town fell behind from the penalty spot. Left-back Paul Dixon was booked for pulling back Ricketts – the Scotsman will miss the Hull game as a result. Alex Smithies was the hero though pulling of a great save to keep out Eagles’ well struck kick.
Smithies’ superb spot save sparked Town in to life and they were within inches of taking the lead when Knight almost scored another own goal when he dived in to clear Vaughan’s cross; thankfully for the tall defender Adam Bogdan got a slight touch on his sliced clearance to turn it around the post.
Town’s attacking threat was short lived however, and they were soon back on the foot and behind in the 80th minute when Mark Davies capitalised on poor defending to lay it on a plate for Eagles who amended for his earlier spot kick from ten yards.
The introduction of Alan Lee in attack gave Town a man to hit upfront; in the 83rd minute his downward header found a way to Norwood who drove wide from 20 yards.
The big man’s introduction worked its magic with four minutes to go when his lay off landed in the path of James Vaughan who drove Town level with a superb shot.
Town pressured for a winner and almost had one in the fifth minute of injury time when Vaughan struck from range, but Bogdan showed great agility to tip his effort around the post.
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Anthony Gerrard, Peter Clarke (c), Jack Hunt; Oliver Norwood, Chris Atkinson (Danny Ward, 81), Adam Clayton; Simon Church (Sean Scannell, 75), James Vaughan, Lee Novak (Alan Lee, 81)
Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Murray Wallace, Scott Arfield
Bookings Town: Anthony Gerrard 48, Lee Novak 60, James Vaughan 62, Paul Dixon 75
Bookings Bolton: Adam Bogdan 43