Bolton Wanderers 1 Wigan Athletic 1: Johansson's cunning leaves Bolton rueing missed chances

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The Independent Football

Stelios Giannakopoulos' goal for Bolton was equalised by Andreas Johansson during a second half that was a marked improvement on a turgid first, although both sides have played a good deal better and done a good deal more for their managers' reputations this season.

Sam Allardyce and Paul Jewell, as the two most conspicuously over-achieving managers in the Premiership, have inevitably been linked this week with the vacancy at its most under-achieving club, Newcastle United. In Allardyce's case, you can add the job at Rangers and the one he really wants, with England. "A tremendous distraction," he called it before the match but at least as far as the England position is concerned, it is not speculation he seems unduly keen to kill off.

After the game, his mind was firmly on Bolton's situation, with injuries to Khalilou Fadiga and Kevin Davies adding to his immediate worries.

"We've not got 11 fit professionals for Arsenal next week, but I always said it might catch up with us," he said of a squad heavily depleted by injury and African Nations' Cup duty and not appreciably strengthened during the transfer window. "So it was a tremendous effort to still take the game to Wigan and get our noses in front."

For much of the game, this was not much of an advert for either manager and neither side found much of a rhythm. The only genuine chance of the first half came when Davies got a return touch from Matt Jansen and forced a low save from Mike Pollitt.

There was no instant improvement after the break, with the nearest thing to a knockout blow coming when Wigan's Reto Ziegler accidentally flattened an assistant referee.

Then, after 63 minutes, Bolton got the goal they had begun to threaten. Bruno N'Gotty's free-kick penetrated deep into the Wigan penalty area. Ricardo Vaz Te got a crucial touch and Giannakopoulos was there to force the ball past Pollitt at close range.

Vaz Te's shot on the turn could have made it two if he had been a little to either side of Pollitt, before Wigan equalised in controversial fashion.

Johansson, brought on as a second-half substitute, seemed to be the one doing the pushing when he contested a ball with N'Gotty on the edge of the Bolton penalty area, but he was given the free-kick. "We had a doubt about it but should have defended it better," said Allardyce.

Ziegler's free-kick went through the Bolton wall and, although Jussi Jaaskelainen kept it out, Johansson was following up for his first Premiership goal.

Pascal Chimbonda's trip on Kevin Nolan gave Bolton a similar opportunity, but Giannakopoulos' free-kick was charged down, while at the other end Jimmy Bullard blazed wide from an inviting position.

N'Gotty's back-pass to Jaaskelainen gave Wigan a last opportunity but David Thompson's effort was blocked when a second Latics' goal would have been harsh on Bolton. "I thought we finished the stronger," said Jewell. "When you go behind here, you don't normally come back so it's a pleasing point."

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