The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Mikael McKen­zie

BRIS­TOL City boss Steve Cot­ter­ill was dis­ap­pointed to not open up a seven-point gap on the rel­e­ga­tion zone af­ter his side bat­tled to a goal­less draw against drop-ri­vals Bolton Wan­der­ers at the Macron Sta­dium.

Kieran Agard rat­tled the cross­bar early in the first half and Shola Ameobi was de­nied from the spot in the sec­ond.

But both sides pro­vided ev­i­dence as to why they were right in the thick of a gloomy rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight.

“I think we de­served to win the game,” said Cot­ter­ill, whose side came into the game off the back of beat­ing Wolves mid­week.

“We were the bet­ter team over the 90 min­utes and ours was a nailed on penalty – theirs wasn’t.

“We didn’t take our chances when we cre­ated as many as we cre­ated in the first half.

“The game was dif­fer­ent in the sec­ond half. He brought two big strik­ers on and then went and played off the strik­ers.

“It was im­por­tant to make the gap seven points. That’s how we look at it. We came to try and win the game.”

The vis­i­tors were de­nied a huge penalty claim in­side four min­utes when Mark Davies went in late on Luke Free­man fol­low­ing a short cor­ner but referee Stu­art At­twell waved away the protests.

Bolton’s back-line looked ex­tremely nervy and when Agard charged down Prince-De­sir Gouano’s clear­ance, he sent the ball loop­ing over Ben Amos be­fore it came crash­ing back off the cross­bar. That proved to be the only spark of the first half as both sides strug­gled to get a grip on the scrappy en­counter.

But two min­utes af­ter the restart Jonathan Kod­jia burst down the right flank and cut the ball back to Agard.

But with the whole net to aim at the for­ward was left red-faced af­ter com­pletely miss­ing the ball.

And one minute later the two front­men com­bined again but this time it was Kod­jia who failed to make suf­fi­cient con­tact on the low cross from the left.

Half-time sub­sti­tute Gary Ma­dine made an in­stant im­pact for the hosts as he drew a foul from Nathan Baker in­side the box and Wan­der­ers had a chance to take the lead from the spot on the 53rd minute.

But Ameobi, who had scored all of his pre­vi­ous ten ca­reer penalty kicks, was de­nied by Field­ing down to his right be­fore Gary Ma­dine fired the re­bound wide.

The Nige­rian for­ward looked to make amends for the miss mo­ments later as he danced past two play­ers down the left and threaded Liam Feeney in on goal, but he was de­nied by a sprawl­ing fin­ger­tip save by keeper Field­ing.

Tar­get-man Ma­dine then headed wide twice fol­low­ing car­bon-copy crosses from Feeney, be­fore Kod­jia cut in from the right and dragged a shot wide of the near-post at the other end.

Both sides smelt blood at the death but were un­able to pro­vide the clin­i­cal fin­ish that was re­quired to steal max­i­mum points.

Bolton Wan­der­ers man­ager Neil Len­non said: “We looked ten­ta­tive and ner­vous first half and great sec­ond half.

“Af­ter the first five min­utes of the sec­ond half I thought that it was all us.

“I didn’t see Bris­tol City caus­ing us any prob­lems and we had great chances to win the game – none more so than the penalty.

“Did they look like a team out there sec­ond half? Yes.

“Did they look like a team that wanted to win sec­ond half? Yes.

“My job is to con­sol­i­date this club in the Cham­pi­onship. There are 30 games to go and I still feel very con­fi­dent that I'll do that. The pres­sure is on but we’re up to the chal­lenge and we’re not get­ting down.”

PIC­TURES: Pro Sports

PILEDRIVER: Bris­tol City striker Kieran Agard un­leashes a pow­er­ful shot

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