Nugent makes most of Megson's backward step

Burnley 1 Bolton Wanderers 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Burnley continued their run of 1-1 draws at Turf Moor, but this was a match in which they should have embellished their already impressive home record.

Although Bolton, at Burnley for the first time in the top flight since 1964, briefly threatened to become only the second team to beat them there in the Premier League, this was a contest the Clarets should have won after seizing the initiative from their neighbours in the second half. It had not started that way, with Bolton, three points behind Burnley in 18th place at kick-off, having all the best of the early chances in a refreshingly open game. Mark Basham – in for the suspended Fabrice Muamba – Kevin Davies and Tamir Cohen all had worthwhile chances, before Steven Fletcher missed a far better one for the home side. Wade Elliott, a pest to Bolton throughout, robbed the ponderous Zat Knight and the striker somehow missed the open goal presented by his cross.

Swift punishment followed. Andre Bikey, in the back four in the absence of Clarke Carlisle and Steven Caldwell, climbed all over Davies to concede a free-kick and Matthew Taylor's productive left foot did the rest. From a position well to the right of the goal, Brian Jensen left him too much room at the near post and was duly embarrassed by Taylor's fourth goal of the season.

Bolton could have been two up when Ivan Klasnic's deflected shot shaved the post immediately before half-time, but they lost their impetus after the break. In the sort of move that makes their supporters despair of Gary Megson's philosophy, he sacrificed his main goal threat and his most creative midfielder, Klasnic and Chung-Yong Lee, in favour of a familiar holding pattern. The result was that Burnley surged forward for an equaliser and a seemingly inevitable winner.

The first arrived from David Nugent, getting a rare start on his soon-to-expire loan from Portsmouth, who headed in from the excellent Elliott's cross as goalkeeper and back four debated the division of responsibilities.

Nugent, doing his utmost to push his claims for a longer contract, was one of a number of players who had opportunities in a second half of one- way traffic, but largely thanks to Jussi Jaaskelainen, Bolton hung on.

"I though it was a classic game of two halves," said Megson. "A point was a fair result for both teams, but the fact that we were 1-0 up and were the better team for the first half means that we are disappointed not to have got the points."

Attendance: 21,761

Referee: Chris Foy

Man of the match: Elliott

Match rating: 6/10

Comments