|Ipswich Town 0 v 0 Bolton Wanderers|
Saturday, 22nd September 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 0-0 Bolton Wanderers - Match Report
Saturday, 22nd Sep 2018 17:26
Town recorded their fifth successive home draw at the start of the season as Bolton Wanderers left Portman Road following a hard-fought 0-0 stalemate, despite having been a man down for 47 minutes. The Trotters lost Marc Wilson to a red card on 34 after he hauled down Kayden Jackson but the Blues only created one serious chance - a Luke Chambers header brilliantly saved by Ben Alnwick - having been reduced to 10 men themselves late on when Jon Walters suffered an injury with all three substitutions already having been made.
Toto Nsiala returned to the Town starting line-up following the completion of his three-game suspension for his red card at Sheffield Wednesday.
The former Shrewsbury man is started at the centre of the defence alongside skipper Luke Chambers with Matthew Pennington moving to right-back with Janoi Donacien dropping out.
The St Lucian was again the loanee to miss out on a place in the matchday squad - only five are permitted in the 18 - with former Jon Walters fit enough to take a place on the bench after his achilles injury.
Bolton made four changes to the team which lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough in midweek with Mark Beevers, David Wheater, Gary O'Neil and Josh Vela dropping out of the starting line-up in favour of Wilson, Erhun Oztumer, Will Buckley and Craig Noone.
Jason Lowe scraped a weak shot wide for Bolton after five minutes following a long throw in an opening 20 minutes of little penalty area action. Town had most of the ball but without creating an opportunity.
On 21 Wilson scuffed a volley wide at the far post from a Oztumer cross after a corner, but Town were in control of the game even if they’d not been able to test Bolton skipper and keeper Alnwick.
In the 29th minute Grant Ward was bundled over by Craig Noone just outside the area on the left and Gwion Edwards, who had already sent in a couple of potentially dangerous crosses from the right, hit a powerfully-struck freekick into Alnwick’s midriff.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 34th minute when Wilson was shown a straight red card for denying Jackson an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
Ward did superbly on the left to bring the ball out of a tight area following a Bolton attack, then sent Jackson away with a superb pass. The pacy former Accrington man burst away beyond Wilson, who dragged him back as he broke towards the area with only Alnwick to beat.
Referee Stephen Martin immediately awarded a freekick - with Town making few protests that it was a penalty - then showed Wilson his red card to little complaint from the Trotters players.
As Ward prepared to take the freekick, which was deflected wide off the wall, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson swapped Oztumer for Wheater.
A minute before the break, Trevoh Chalobah was booked for a foul on Will Buckley with Town subsequently making heavy weather of clearing the danger from the freekick and subsequent corner.
Town had continued to enjoy a great deal of possession and had passed the ball around confidently, although largely in unthreatening areas but still without testing Alnwick.
Seconds before the whistle, Ward ended a long spell of Town passing by scraping a shot well wide.
It had been a first half of few incidents aside from Wilson’s red card, which looked the correct decision, the Ireland international had been caught out by Jackson’s blistering pace.
Neither keeper, however, had been forced to make a save in the entire 45 minutes in which Bolton perhaps had the better of the chances - or perhaps more accurately half-chances - with the Blues backline not always defending with confidence.
Chalobah was replaced by Tayo Edun ahead of the second half with the Blues starting on the front foot.
On 47 Pennington scuffed a shot wide from distance after an Edwards cross had been cleared, then Jon Nolan mishit a bouncing ball well wide from 25 yards out.
Town, with Edwards and Ward having swapped flanks, continued to dominate possession but struggled to find a way through the unsurprisingly deeply encamped 10 men of Bolton. In the 59th minute Nolan found some space to hit a shot but curled it well wide.
Five minutes later, Nolan crossed into the box after a corner had been cleared and Nsiala nodded over.
Despite having had all the ball in the second half the Blues were still to test Alnwick and on 71 manager Paul Hurst made a double change.
It was little surprise that Walters was added to the attack alongside Jackson with Jordan Graham joining him on the left of a four-man midfield with Ward and Cole Skuse making way.
Walters hadn’t had time to make any impact before he pulled up with what looked like a recurrence of the achilles injury which saw him miss Tuesday’s game against Brentford in the 81st minute as he chased a ball on the right of the area.
Match Gallery: 13 photos
The clearly anguished Ireland international was treated on the pitch before eventually making his way around the peripherary to the tunnel alongside physio Matt Byard with the game now 10 versus 10.
Bolton suddenly saw the chance of what had looked an unlikely victory and the Blues found themselves under pressure for the first time. On 83 a loose ball fell to Wheater inside the Town box but Chambers slid in to block.
Three minutes later, the Blues went close as close as they would come to a goal. Graham’s freekick from the left was flicked on towards the top corner by Chambers but somehow Alnwick was able to get across to brilliantly paw it out for a corner.
Despite the numbers having been evened up the game had returned to the pattern from prior to Walters’s injury.
Edun was booked for a foul in injury time as Town kept pushing in the closing stages but without being able to find the goal which would bring them their first win of the season.
The final whistle was greeted by boos - brief but far louder than than those at half-time on Tuesday - and then muted applause as the players left the field.
Having played 47 minutes with an extra man Town missed a big opportunity to finally grab that elusive first win of the season.
The prodded and probed but only seriously threatened once when Alnwick superbly saved Chambers’s header.
In some ways Town might have been better off had Bolton not been reduced to 10 men, the Trotters having defended staunchly and in depth after the red card. A more open approach from the visitors with 11 players might have suited Town more.
The draw will up the already significant pressure on manager Hurst, despite the Blues having climbed a place off the bottom of the table on goal difference courtesy of Sheffield United’s 3-2 victory over Preston, former Blue David McGoldrick having scored the late winner.
Town have their next chance to finally end their winless run and reduce that pressure when they travel to Birmingham - who won 2-1 at Leeds today - next Saturday.
Town: Gerken, Pennington, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Skuse (Graham 71), Chalobah (Edun 46), Edwards, Ward (Walters 71), Nolan, Jackson. Unused: Bialkowski, Harrison, Spence, Downes.
Bolton: Alnwick (c), Olkowski, Hobbs, Wilson, Grounds, Williams, Lowe, Buckley (Wildschut 87), Noone (Donaldson 90), Oztumer (Wheater 36), Magennis. Unused: Matthews, Vela, Doidge, O’Neil. Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire). Att: 14,755.
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