Written on March 1, 2017
BOLTON suffered a costly evening on Tuesday as they spurned a great chance to gain ground in the League One promotion race.
Not only did a 75th-minute equaliser mean Wanderers had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Bristol Rovers but striker Chris Long was sent off late on after a second booking while influential midfielder Jay Spearing (above) was forced off with a knee injury.
The Trotters’ captain had returned after being suspended for the previous two games at Bradford and Sheffield United while Andy Taylor also returned, but Gary Madine remained out of the squad.
Josh Vela got Bolton off to a great start, scoring a 6th-minute opener from an unselfish pass by Filipe Morais but Rovers, now unbeaten in 7, deservedly drew level through Byron Moore after dominating the second half and they could have won it late on.
Boss Phil Parkinson then revealed that Spearing had suffered medial knee ligament damage so Wanderers are waiting to see how long he’ll be out for.
Parkinson admitted: “We’re disjointed at the moment, and I think it’s there for everybody to see, so we’ll take the point. It was a tough night for us. We’re not having the greatest of luck in terms of injuries and losing Jay at half-time was a big blow for us.
“From the team we were prior to Christmas, we’ve got to rediscover our identity as a team – and we will do that. When we’re making so many changes through injuries and suspensions, it’s been difficult, but we dug in there and got the point.”
Fourth-placed Bolton actually gained a point on the top two as Scunthorpe lost at home to AFC Wimbledon but it was an opportunity wasted as Bradford also failed to win while Fleetwood and leaders Sheffield United didn’t play. Wanderers are two points off the automatic promotion places, with a game in hand, and host Wimbledon this Saturday.
Parkinson added: “It’s not terrible because despite chopping and changing for the last month, we have only lost one game (out of 6), which was away to Sheffield United. Our form and results aren’t that bad, but we’re hanging on a bit in the way we’re playing. My focus and the rest of the staff’s focus is on picking a team who can put in a better performance than that because at times it was uncomfortable watching.”
BURY and OLDHAM both continued their resurgence as both claimed another victory on Tuesday night though.
Top scorer James Vaughan returned from two games out injured to give Bury a 16th-minute lead at home to rock-bottom Coventry, before strike partner Tom Pope doubled their lead on 40 minutes from a Callum Styles through-ball.
Coventry’s Stuart Beavon pulled one back on 65 minutes but the Shakers held to make 13 points from 15 and 3 wins from 3 since Lee Clark took charge.
Bury are now 4 points clear of the drop zone while Oldham have a 3-point buffer after winning 2-1 at Northampton.
January signing Tope Obadeyi scored his first Latics goal on 23 minutes and although that was cancelled out by John-Joe O’Toole with 6 minutes left, sub Lee Erwin struck in stoppage time to make it 6 wins from 11 since John Sheridan’s return as manager.
ROCHDALE’s home game with Port Vale was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, leaving them joint-10th with Bristol Rovers.