Premier League - First draw sends Bolton bottom

Sat, 31 Dec 17:01:00 2011

Bolton Wanderers will start the New Year at the bottom of the Premier League table after playing out a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton 1 Wolves 1

Sam Ricketts gave the home side the lead after the break with a wonderful strike from the edge of the box, but a Steven Fletcher header at the start of the second half condemned Bolton to their first draw of the season and a place at the foot of the table.

Given the importance of the situation after Blackburn's stunning win at Old Trafford, an understandably tense opening 20 minutes saw chances at a premium, Jussi Jaaskelainen forced into a fairly comfortable save from Fletcher's drive.

With Wolves defending deep and allowing the hosts plenty of early possession, Ivan Klasnic nearly got a shot away from David Ngog's neat through ball but Richard Stearman came across well to block the chance.

It needed a moment of inspiration to spark the game to life and Ricketts provided just that. Picking up the ball midway inside the Wolves half down the left flank, he cut inside to unleash a superb curling shot into the top corner, giving Wayne Hennessey absolutely no chance.

The goal seemed to sting Wolves into action towards the end of the half, Stephen Ward rattling Jaaskelainen’s crossbar with a fierce drive.

It would have been harsh on Bolton if that had gone in, as they were playing the better football - and they could have gone further ahead just before the break, the industrious Martin Petrov feeding Klasnic who should have done better with his tame shot.

If the first half was a cagey affair, the second was frantic in comparison and this time it was Wolves who caught Bolton cold, Fletcher stealing in front of the Chelsea-bound Gary Cahill to nod in Matt Jarvis’s corner at the back post.

Fabrice Muamba saw his shot bundled behind by Hennessey, but after that it was Wolves who looked the more likely to win the game in the last 20 minutes.

The home side were almost the architects of their own destruction, in fact, when Tuncay’s attempt at a defensive clearance was blocked on his own line by Mark Davies.

The result does neither side any great favours heading into the New Year, only four points separating 16th-placed Wolves with the new bottom feeders. And with Cahill off to pastures blue, Owen Coyle will be wondering where to turn to next to arrest Bolton's defensive frailties.

Fraser Masefield / Eurosport

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