Match Reports

Report | Replay needed as Hatters held by Bolton


Town 0

Bolton Wanderers 0

And so to Bolton for a replay.

Before a ball was kicked, the Hatters had played 147 different clubs since they had last met the Trotters. Following this goalless cup tie, the number next week will be just one.

Against a battling, confident Bolton, riding high in League One, the Town could not break the deadlock and a first-ever visit to the Wanderers’ stadium awaits despite Rob Edwards’s side best efforts in the second half.

Both teams threw caution to the wind in the final stages – apparent that a replay would do neither a favour in their quest for bigger incentives this season – it became an entertaining, open cup tie that deserved a goal.

It was the Hatters, over the course of the 90 minutes, that had more of the game’s clear-cut chances but, in the face of ten white shirts and the luminous yellow of goalkeeper Nathan Baxter, they couldn’t force the decisive one home to avoid a replay.

As chances went in the first half, the Trotters came closest when Paris Maghoma fizzed a well-hit drive inches wide of the target just after the half-hour mark.

It was a wake-up call that sparked the Hatters, comfortable in position, into action and patient build-up play seven minutes before half-time saw Sambi Lokonga fire a low shot just past the post.

Edwards named a strong side for this. One which ended their previous game impressively against Chelsea, with Carlton Morris, Tahith Chong and Chiedozie Ogbene all starting. The Hatters began the second half in that vein – on the front foot and higher up the pitch.

The Town’s intent was clear from the first whistle after the break but despite the pressure, the visitors held on and Baxter was standing tall – noticeably on 57 minutes when Ogbene’s right-wing cross was met by the head of Morris but the Trotters’ keeper palmed the effort way brilliantly.

As time ticked down, Jordan Clark, on as a substitute shot into the side-netting before fellow change Andros Townsend whipped in a dangerous left-foot shot that Baxter needed to turn away with the ball bouncing under his nose.

Then the final moments came with both sides sensing a late goal in an end-to-end, helter-skelter, cup-tie phase.

With six minutes to go the best chance fell when Alfie Doughty arrowed a firm shot that pinged agonisingly back off the post. Bolton couldn’t clear the danger and when Doughty went down in box VAR had a look, but wasn’t interested – despite replays showing a closer inspection may have warranted a spot-kick.

Finally, the dying seconds almost saw that Town snatch a late winner but Ogbene poked at Baxter from close range and that was that.

Town: Krul; Ogbene, Doughty, Osho, Mengi, Bell; Lokonga (sub Clark 67), Barkley; Chong (sub Townsend 67), Adebayo, Morris (sub Woodrow 76).

Subs not used: Kaminski, Andersen, Berry, Kaboré, Mpanzu.

Attendance: 10,739, including 1,609 from Bolton.

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