Given that their predicament is currently the deeper, Fulham might have drawn greater satisfaction from winning their first point under Roy Hodgson were it not for their desperate need to gather some wins with only 14 matches left to secure Premier League survival. It is 14 matches, in all competitions, since they last managed one win, however, and they remain four points below the safety line.
It was just as well for them that Bolton have been so limited by the loss of Nicolas Anelka. They have managed only one goal in 450 minutes of football this year and, while they had the better half-chances last night, they look a side destined now to be fighting for scraps, unless Gary Megson can conjure up a new striker in the next 24 hours.
Hodgson sees progress but accepts that only a winning run will provide proof. "I believe we can still beat the drop but satisfying though it is to draw here we need to do more," he said. His efforts to strengthen the squad have been hampered by two collapsed transfer deals, but the 23-year-old United States striker Eddie Johnson, whose debut has been held up by work permit procedures, will be available to face Aston Villa on Sunday.
Of the two new components he could unveil, former FC Copenhagen defender Brede Hangeland and midfielder Leon Andreason from Werder Bremen, it was Hangeland who attracted most praise. "Coming up against Kevin Davies, who is a real handful, was a test for his first game, but he came through it very well," Hodgson said.
Only in the early stages, however, did Fulham look a genuine threat going forward. There were goal attempts by Clint Dempsey, Andreasen and Jimmy Bullard, on his first start since Fulham last won away from home, 16 months ago, but it was not long before Bolton began to exert themselves.
Gretar Steinsson, the £3.5m right back from AZ Alkmaar, was arguably their best player. Not too far from a goal himself in the first half, with a hooked shot from a Taylor free kick, he created one of Bolton's better chances 12 minutes into the second, when his pace on the overlap took him clear to slide a cross in for Kevin Nolan, whose clever flick with the inside of his heel only just eluded Matt Taylor.
Later, Lubomir Michalik had an unguarded goal to aim at when Anti Niemi punched away a Taylor free kick, but could only hit the post. Then Andy O'Brien had a chance to head home a Taylor corner but glanced the ball wide. Megson's admission that "we didn't play well enough to win" was an honest assessment.
Bolton Wanderers (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, A O'Brien, Michalik, Gardner; Guthrie (Andranik, 68), Nolan, J O'Brien (Cohen, 45), McCann, Taylor (Helguson, 82); K Davies. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Samuel.
Fulham (4-4-1-1): Niemi; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Volz (Christanval, 74), Murphy, Andreasen (Bocanegra, 82), S Davies; Bullard (Bouazza, 86); Dempsey. Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Healy.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear).
Man of the Match: Steinsson
Attendance: 17,732.Reuse content