BOLTON’S WOES THERE FUR REAL!

The Football League Paper - - GOOD BAD & UGLY: GLEN LITTLE - By Michael Beard­more

THE ap­pear­ance of a squir­rel on the pitch late in the first half proved fit­ting as Trot­ters boss Dougie Freed­man was driven nuts by Bolton’s fail­ure to get any­thing at Wolves.

The furry creature got nearer to Wolves’ goal than Bolton had man­aged in a one-sided first half, but Bolton dom­i­nated the sec­ond half, only for keeper Carl Ikeme’s bril­liance to frus­trate them.

Ikeme pro­duced a string of fine saves, in­clud­ing a penalty stop from Owen Gar­van, to leave Bolton tee­ter­ing above the bot­tom three and Freed­man’s hair in dan­ger of turn­ing as grey as the squir­rel.

Un­der-pres­sure Freed­man said: “We felt we de­fended very well in the first half, but the wind was taken out of our sails when Wolves scored just be­fore half­time.

“I felt we re­grouped, played well, passed the ball around well and Jer­maine Beck­ford was fan­tas­tic when he came on.

“The game came down to two mo­ments – one in our box, one in theirs. They took their chance and we missed a penalty.

“If the penalty had gone in, I felt we would have gone on to win the game. It was a poor penalty.

“I liked Owen’s con­fi­dence go­ing up and tak­ing it but it was a dis­ap­point­ing penalty.

“In the last 15 min­utes, we pegged Wolves right back and cre­ated three or four op­por­tu­ni­ties. We missed our chances and that’s why we didn’t take any­thing from the game.”

After a quiet start, both sides fash­ioned good chances.

Wolves skip­per Danny Batth’s header was tipped over the bar by Andy Lon­er­gan, while Bolton’s Craig Davies fired a great open­ing tamely at Ikeme.

Wolves were on top, forc­ing umpteen cor­ners, but not for the first time this sea­son could not trans­fer their su­pe­ri­or­ity into goals, with Lee Evans drilling just wide from the edge of the box.

When the opener did come, four min­utes be­fore the break, it owed as much to poor Bolton de­fend­ing as to striker Nouha Dicko’s op­por­tunism.

Dither­ing duo Lon­er­gan and Do­rian Dervite left a de­flected cross to each other and Dicko nipped in be­tween them to nod home from a tight an­gle.

The squir­rel’s dart across the pitch pro­vided some light en­ter­tain­ment be­fore Scott Gol­bourne wasted a great chance to dou­ble the lead, miss­ing a far-post header that looked eas­ier to score.

Wolves had a huge let-off on the hour as Batth, al­ready on a yel­low, was lucky to es­cape a sec­ond, felling Beck­ford with an ill-ad­vised lunge in the box but Ikeme saved Gar­van’s weak penalty and follow-up.

Ikeme had to make three more saves to pre­serve the points, alertly tip­ping Joe Ma­son’s crossshot on to the bar, stay­ing big to block from Liam Feeney and be­ing in the right place to foil Beck­ford late on.

It was Wolves’ fourth 1-0 win in eight games, mov­ing them third in the ta­ble.

Boss Kenny Jack­ett said: “You will al­ways take a 1-0 win and we are re­ally pleased with the re­sult.

“First-half we were very good and had a big chance at the start of the sec­ond with Gol­bourne’s header.

“After that it was all Bolton and my keeper made some vi­tal saves.

“I wasn’t sure it was a penalty, I thought it was a very soft one, but my goal­keeper has made a fan­tas­tic stop.

“Our aim is pro­mo­tion and has been from day one.

“It is the aim for three-quarters of the Cham­pi­onship, cer­tainly for Wolves be­cause of be­ing in the Premier League so re­cently and gen­uinely be­ing a big club.

“If we can keep our de­fen­sive record and up our goals, that will be the ul­ti­mate aim, but say­ing those things and then do­ing it is dif­fi­cult in a very good league.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

HANDS ON HEAD: Owen Gar­van has his penalty saved by Carl Ikeme and then again on the re­bound

STAR TURN: Nouha Dicko cel­e­brates his win­ning goal

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