Reds make their point
Eagles tried his luck from an acute angle but fired well wide on just two minutes to register the first effort of the match but Barnsley got settled into the swing of things after another scare at the back moments alter.
It could have oh so easily been a win for the Reds had Mills not kept out Tudgay with a goal-line clearance just minutes after Davies had levelled the tie.
A wonderful strike from Craig Davies – returning from injury – showed the faithful following just what their side had been missing as he helped the Reds rescue a point at the Reebok.
Reds 1 (C. Davies 66)
Bolton 1 (K. Davies 25)
Bogdan dropped a clanger on 13 minutes when he failed to handle a Mellis corner, but Tudgay was just beaten the ball by Ricketts. It was all Barnsley by the 15-minute mark and Tudgay got on the end of Golbourne’s sweet delivery but just couldn’t cushion his header below the crossbar.
Marcus Tudgay tested Bogdan on eight minutes from the right-hand side after dispossessing Knight on the edge of the box. Davies then got in on the act to force Bogdan into another save low to his right with a 22-yard drive for the Reds’ second effort on target in the space of 60 seconds.
After all that, Barnsley give the ball away and Bolton score. Done’s stray pass found one of the most dangerous wingers in the Championship in Chris Eagles and he crossed to one of the most experienced strikers in the Championship, Kevin Davies. The big frontman got in his side’s first effort on target from eight yards and he didn’t miss with 25 minutes gone.
Confidence looked like it had never been away as the Reds kept the ball well and eventually Done fired at goal from a full 35 yards on 21 minutes with Bogdan saving smartly to his right.
On 32 minutes Steele comfortably dealt with a Ricketts curler moments before an Eagles shot went straight at him. Steele looked absolutely furious with Wiseman and his defence.
In response, Craig Davies curled wide with a 30-yard free-kick and it was important that Hill’s side kept their heads high after a positive start.
A quick-free kick caught Bolton out on the hour mark but Matty Done saw his effort well saved by Bogdan – a goal-kick was given. Done was then replaced by Tomasz Cywka.
The Reds made their first substitution on 57 minutes with Noble-Lazarus replacing Jim O’Brien out on the right.
At the other end Eagles lofted a delightful ball to Kevin Davies who thumped at goal but Steele tipped his effort away. His namesake, Mark, tested Steele once more as the Reds yet again simply gave possession away.
The Reds started fairly brightly in the opening stages of the second period and some neat interchange play between Tudgay and Dawson saw the latter charge into the box only for his cross to be blocked.
Astoundingly, Tudgay was denied a debut goal with the nets at his mercy thanks to a wonderful last-ditch block from Mills. Dawson it was with the initial shot that Bogdan parried into the path of Tudgay only for him to be denied on the line.
Keith Andrews glanced a header just wide from a left-wing delivery as Bolton went for a winner in the final 15 minutes. As the rain began to hammer down on the Reebok turf, Noble-Lazarus cracked a long-range effort just wide of Bogdan’s left-hand upright on 80 minutes. It seemed the Reds weren’t settling for a draw and were looking for their second.
Who had Barnsley been missing? Craig Davies –just the man to haul his side back into the clash with a wonderful strike from 25 yards that fizzed in off the post. It was a great effort with 66 played and the celebrations showed the unity amongst the players and staff in the technical area.
Four minutes of stoppage were added and Bolton again saw Kevin Davies in on goal with a header but it was straight at Steele. At the other end Bogdan was lucky to see just a yellow after his high challenge left Davies in a heap. But it didn’t matter as the Reds’ poor run came to an end with this well-deserved point in Lancashire.
Bolton were relying heavily on Kevin Davies, with the experienced striker hammering at goal yet again on the volley only for Steele to keep it out. A tired-looking Jacob Mellis was replaced by Stephen Foster in the final minute of normal time.
Subs: Lynch, Mears, Ream, Pratley, Afobe.
Bolton: Bogdan, Ricketts, Warnock (Mears 33), Knight, Mills, Spearing, M. Davies, Butterfield (Andrews 57), Eagles, Ngog (Lee 70), K. Davies.
Reds: Steele, Golbourne, Wiseman, McNulty, Cranie, Dawson, Mellis (Foster 90), O'Brien (Noble-Lazarus 57), Done (Cywka 60), C. Davies, Tudgay.
Subs: Alnwick, Dagnall, Harewood, Kennedy.
Referee: Carl Berry
Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin and William Smallwood.
Fourth Official: Paul Kettlewell.
Att: 16, 965