BOLTON WANDERERS subjected their supporters to another night of tension and mystery before securing the three points which maintained their fragile prospects of promotion to the Premiership.
Their second win in 11 matches consolidates their play-off claims yet will have done little to convince their most faithful followers they are likely to achieve the ultimate objective.
Nothing settles jangling nerves like an early goal and Eidur Gudjohnsen provided that perfect antidote in a positive opening spell.
Bristol City, having resuscitated their hopes of survival with a run of three wins, produced composed orderly football yet offered scant threat of an equaliser in the first half.
The complexion of the match changed after the break. City adopted a more forceful, incisive approach and Bolton's anxieties were exposed again.
Colin Todd's team were grateful for the reflexes of Steve Banks who saved splendidly from Ade Akinbiyi. Bolton were still more thankful by the end. City contributed to their own disappointment, failing to capitalise on their momentum.
Todd had called on his players to demonstrate their character and they just about passed that test. He had also bemoaned the lack of crosses into the opposition's area and they addressed that deficiency in the seventh minute. Michael Johansen delivered that much coveted centre, Bob Taylor supplied the knock-down and Gudjohnsen applied the finish.
Neil Cox had already drilled a shot just wide of City's goal. Taylor's effort took a similar course, and Johansen and Per Frandsen were a little too high as Bolton endeavoured to press home their advantage.
Gradually the self-belief drained from Bolton's football, and although Adam Locke was offside as he volleyed past Banks, the warning was clear.
Gudjohnsen might have spared Bolton the agonising finale, but instead chipped over the bar. Two minutes from the end the striker squandered another chance from Taylor's service, ensuring uncertainty to the death.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Banks; Cox, Todd, Fish, Phillips; Johansen, Jensen, Frandsen, Gardner; Taylor, Gudjohnsen.
Bristol City (4-4-2): B Andersen; Murray, Sebok, Taylor, Brennan; Locke, Howells, Brown (Goodridge, 82), Tinnion; Torpey, Akinbiyi (S Andersen, 70).
Referee: A Hall (Birmingham).Reuse content