Posted by Admin - Wed 31st January 2018 10.53AM
By William Kirkpatrick
A new year for Bolton Wanderers brought with it a new motivation in their bid to survive relegation in the Championship.
Sitting in the relegation zone before their first match of 2018 with fellow strugglers Hull, a win would see them leapfrog the opposition and move out of the bottom three.
Hull were quickly off the mark, making it uncomfortable for the Whites in the opening 15 minutes and Wanderers were not helped by Karl Henry picking up an injury early on.
But Bolton struck first through a sublime Gary Madine free-kick, the talismanic striker causing raised eyebrows when he placed the ball down but shocking the crowd with a beautifully-hit strike over the wall and into the top corner.
Bolton struggled to get a hold of the game and create any noteworthy chances capable of doubling their lead while Ben Alnwick produced another great performance to keep Hull from equalising.
The Tigers hit the post through Jarrod Bowen while Markus Hendriksen had a chance to level late on but he was denied by Alnwick.
Wanderers hosted Premier League side Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup and, with the prospect of future TV money, fielded a strong side.
Goals from Rajiv Van La Parra and Danny Williams at the start of the second half gave the visitors the win although Bolton pulled a goal back with 25 minutes remaining through Derik Osede who headed home from close range.
Returning to the Championship, Bolton travelled to Brentford where chances were scarce in the first half but the home side broke the deadlock in the 40th minute through Florian Jozefzoon.
The game opened up for both teams in the second half but Brentford would have put the game to bed had it not been for a brilliant save by Alnwick with Jozefzoon one-on-one.
Bolton's best chance fell to Madine but as they pushed for an equaliser the were punished on the break in injury time when Neal Maupay got on the end of a weak cross and backheeled the ball past Alnwick.
Bolton hosted Ipswich for the final game of January and could have opened the scoring inside the opening minute when a long ball was brought down by Madine who played through Josh Vela but, under pressure, he was only able to shoot down the throat of the Ipswich keeper.
Ipswich defender Chambers almost opened the scoring soon after as he connected to a corner, forcing Alnwick into a brilliant point-blank save.
It took until the 53rd minute for Bolton to open the scoring wen Robinson's cross was flicked on by Vela into the path of Gary Madine who was able to lose his marker and poke the ball home.
Madine almost doubled his tally with a chance from a free-kick which was dealt with by Bialkowski.
Bolton continued to dominate, but Ipswich levelled when some intricate passing led to a low cross into striker Joe Garner who scored from close range.
Ipswich might even have won the game but Martyn Waghorn's long-range strike hit the bar and Bolton held onto a point.