BOLTON, OLDHAM and BURY are breathing easier today after all enjoyed a positive end to a busy week in League One.
With a full programme of fixtures on Tuesday night, last week offered an opportunity to make up ground quickly at each end of the table and they did their hopes the power of good as all three sides registered 7 points from a possible 9.
Bolton travelled to promotion rivals Bradford on Saturday, with a crowd of 21, 190 flocking to Valley Parade, and saw Wanderers fight back from going 2-0 down inside 16 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw. The Bantams went in front through a Charlie Wyke brace before David Wheater and Gary Madine struck in the 2nd half to keep the Trotters two points outside the automatic promotion places, with a game in hand on 2nd-placed Scunthorpe.
Phil Parkinson spent 5 years at Bradford before becoming Bolton boss last summer so knew what atmosphere to expect at Valley Parade and he praised the 2,519 Wanderers fans that travelled across the Pennines for doing their bit.
“It isn’t often that we’ve been two down this season, but I thought the supporters responded really well to the situation too,” he said. “They didn’t get on the players’ backs at all and they stayed right behind the team so that we deservedly got back in it and possibly could have won it at the end.
“We won’t be greedy though, especially after going two behind. It is ultimately a very good point for us and there was some great character shown by us to get there.”
John Sheridan has swiftly led OLDHAM out of the drop zone after returning as manager and Latics drew 0-0 at 3rd-bottom Swindon on Saturday. That saw them go 3 unbeaten in the league for just the second time this season – the last time was after winning at Bury back in August. Swindon spurned a host of 1st-half opportunities so Sheridan admitted he was glad to take a point on the road.
BURY have now followed Oldham out of the bottom four after coming from behind to win 2-1 at 2nd-bottom Chesterfield. As well as playing 3 games, the Shakers also made time to appoint Lee Clark as their new manager last week, replacing interim boss Chris Brass, and he saw his new side fall behind to a 7th goal of the season for former Stockport County and Macclesfield striker Kristian Dennis.
With in-form top scorer James Vaughan (hamstring) ruled out, Clark handed Ryan Lowe his first start since returning to Gigg Lane and the veteran striker earned a 78th-minute penalty, which saw defender Tom Anderson sent off, only for Lowe’s spot-kick to be saved by Thorsten Stuckmann.
But just 2 minutes later, Andrew Tutte smashed a 25-yard strike into the top corner and in stoppage time, Stuckmann had a loose touch from a backpass and sub George Miller pounced to score his 6th of the season, sending Bury outside the drop zone on goal difference.
ROCHDALE didn’t enjoy as good a week, taking 2 points from 9, and although they are now 7 games without a win after a 3-3 draw at home to Charlton, it was enough to edge them back up to 8th.
The lead changed hands 3 times, with Niall Canavan’s early opener for Dale cancelled out by Jordan Botaka and Jorge Teixeira goals either side of the break. But Calvin Andrew soon drew Dale level again on 70 minutes and although Nathaniel Mendez-Laing restored their lead on 84, Teixeira struck again with 2 minutes left to earn a point.
WIGAN played out a 0-0 draw in the Championship in Saturday’s Lancashire derby at home to Preston. Striker Omar Bogle gave away a first-half penalty although fellow new boy Matt Gilks saved Jordan Hugill’s spot-kick, along with his follow-up.
Back at the right end, Bogle had a penalty shout of his own turned down, before Max Power fired narrowly over in the 2nd half as Latics edged up to 3rd-bottom, two points from safety.