BOLTON’S MA­CHINE RUNS OUT OF SPARK

Win­ning runs ends at five...

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Colin Hen­rys

THE spark which helped Bolton record five con­sec­u­tive wins de­serted them at home to Ch­ester­field, ac­cord­ing to boss Phil Parkin­son, as Wan­der­ers were frus­trated in their ef­forts to close the gap to lead­ers Sh­effield United.

Dur­ing their win­ning run, Bolton found a flair for break­ing down stub­born op­po­si­tion but strug­gling Ch­ester­field stood firm at the back in a Macron Sta­dium stale­mate.

Not even Jon Nolan’s stop­page­time dis­missal, for a sec­ond yel­low card, could deny the vis­i­tors a clean sheet and Parkin­son ad­mit­ted it had been a frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon.

But with other re­sults go­ing their way, the Bolton boss re­mains in an upbeat mood with seven points now sep­a­rat­ing Wan­der­ers and third-placed Fleet­wood.

“We just couldn’t find that mo­ment of qual­ity in the game, that mo­ment to un­lock the door and that was frus­trat­ing,” Parkin­son said.

“It’s al­ways frus­trat­ing when you don’t cap­i­talise and don’t get the three points. But you have to credit Ch­ester­field too. They made it re­ally dif­fi­cult for us.

“You need that first goal so the op­po­si­tion has to open up and we just couldn’t find it.

“We’ve had a great run, and we’ve just got to keep our feet firmly on the ground be­cause there’s still a lot of foot­ball left in this sea­son. We’re in a ter­rific po­si­tion.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t get car­ried away, think­ing we’ve got one foot in the Cham­pi­onship, be­cause we haven’t.”

De­spite Ch­ester­field sit­ting sec­ond-bot­tom of the league, it was the vis­i­tors and not sec­ond-placed Bolton who made the brighter start.

Dan Gard­ner wasted a 20-yard free-kick just three min­utes in when he shot into the wall, while Nolan’s shot was par­ried clear by Mark Howard in the sev­enth minute.

Cap­tain Sam Hird threw him­self in the way of Dean Moxey’s shot on 18 min­utes, but Ch­ester­field con­tin­ued to cre­ate open­ings of their own.

Nolan showed good vi­sion to pick out Gard­ner un­marked in­side the area mid­way through the half, but Howard again par­ried clear.

Gard­ner was in again on the stroke of half-time, eas­ily get­ting be­tween two de­fend­ers to un­leash a pow­er­ful strike which Howard spilled, but the Wan­der­ers’ keeper re­cov­ered well to de­flect Kris­tian Den­nis’ fol­low-up wide.

Bolton im­proved af­ter the break, and Dar­ren Prat­ley volleyed into Thorsten Stuck­mann’s arms on 57 min­utes when a bounc­ing ball in the area just would not drop quickly enough.

Moxey fired just over on 70 min­utes when Filipe Mo­rais’ cross evaded ev­ery­body in the mid­dle, while Adam Le Fon­dre shot well over ten min­utes later from Max Clay­ton’s knock-down.

It be­came more fran­tic for the hosts, and af­ter some pin­ball in the area Mo­rais’ shot was blocked in the fourth minute of stop­page time – Bolton un­able to force the ball over the line.

There was still time for Nolan – al­ready booked for a foul on Moxey – to pick up a sec­ond yel­low for a late tackle on Mo­rais but Ch­ester­field held on.

And boss Gary Cald­well said: “I thought we were mag­nif­i­cent from start to fin­ish.

“We needed ev­ery at­tribute to get a re­sult against the in-form team in the league.

“First half, some of our play on the ball was out­stand­ing. Sec­ond­half, our de­sire and com­mit­ment de­fen­sively was great.

“A point was the least we de­served and, if any­thing, I thought we should have won with the chances we cre­ated first half.

“Con­fi­dence and be­lief can be af­fected when you’re in this po­si­tion, but I think they showed that when the con­fi­dence comes some of our play is ex­cel­lent.”

HANDS OFF: Ch­ester­field’s Dion Dono­hue shrugs off Josh Vela at the Macron Sta­dium

PIC­TURE: ProS­ports/ Mark Pol­litt

HOP TO IT: Bolton for­ward Chris Long skips over a Ch­ester­field tackle

FRUS­TRATED: Bolton man­ager Phil Parkin­son

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