Bolton 1-1 Wolves: Ricket superb-strike, Fletcher header
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.
Sam Ricketts gave the home side the lead at 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 the stunning Old Trafford result, an understandably tense opening 20 minutes saw chances at a premium, Jussi Jaaskelainen forced into a fairly comfortable save from Fletcher's drive.
It needed a moment of inspiration to spark the game to life and Sam 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. Still, it would have been harsh on Bolton who were playing the better football and they could have gone further ahead just before the break, the industrious 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 Jarvis’s corner at the back post.
Fabrice Muamba saw his shot bundled behind by Henessey but after that, it was Wolves who looked the more likely to win it in the last twenty minutes, the home side nearly the architects of their own destruction 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.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Ricketts, M Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Klasnic, Ngog. Subs: Bogdan, Robinson, Eagles, Tuncay, K Davies, Wheater, O'Halloran.
Wolves: Hennessey, Elokobi, Johnson, Berra, Stearman, Hunt, Henry, Ward, Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher. Subs: De Vries, Edwards, Hammill, Doyle, Doherty, Foley, Guedioura.