Bolton 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Gray frustrated by stalemate

Bolton Wanderers's Dean Moxey (right) and Sheffield Wednesday's Chris Maguire battle for the ball.
Bolton Wanderers's Dean Moxey (right) and Sheffield Wednesday's Chris Maguire battle for the ball.
Have your say

Sheffield Wednesday did everything but score as they were held to a goalless draw at Bolton Wanderers.

Stuart Gray’s visitors went closest to taking all three points, twice having efforts kicked off the line, while goalkeeper Andy Lonergan was Bolton’s man of the match.

Despite a plethora of shots, however, few were of the quality needed to beat Lonergan - deputising for injured Hungarian international Adam Bogdan.

Under pressure Dougie Freedman’s Trotters offered little threat in reply, although they did manage a first clean sheet at the sixth attempt of a dismal start to the new campaign.

However, the game will not stay long in the memory and unsurprisingly boos rang out at both half and full-time, noticeably from the home contingent. .

Stevie May did get the ball in the net from top scorer Atdhe Nuhiu’s knockdown after 19 minutes. Despite a huge roar from Wednesday’s 3,023 away following, referee Andy Haines had blown for a foul against the giant Austrian.

Wednesday then carved out the first legitimate chances as Wanderers’ central defenders missed a long hopeful cross from the home right. The ball fell invitingly for unmarked Maguire, whose first shot was hacked off the line by Matt Mills before a second drifted wide of the post.

Wanderers created nothing in retaliation to trouble Keiren Westwood, with lone striker Joe Mason well shackled by the Wednesday rearguard.

Left-back Dean Moxey, back in the Bolton team for the first time since a nightmare debut at Watford on the opening day of the season, collected the game’s first yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Jose Semedo.

Nuhiu appealed for a penalty as a dreadful opening 45 minutes meandered to a soporific conclusion - he received an admonishing finger wag from Lonergan while Haines rejected his claim.

Wednesday, however, looked best equipped to break the deadlock. Joe Mattock, who scored a spectacular goal against Wanderers at Hillsborough last April, headed over from Maguire’s corner before skipper Jay Spearing lashed in Bolton’s first and only shot on target after 56 minutes - it was comfortably gathered by Westwood.

Royston Drenthe’s introduction for Maguire on the hour livened up Wednesday and they were unlucky not to go in front soon after. Jacques Maghoma dispossessed on-loan debutant Owen Garvan and played in Nuhiu, whose angled left foot shot was blocked by Lonergan.

Moxey was fortunate not to receive a second yellow for hacking down Drenthe, much to the fury of the Wednesday coaching staff.

Bolton made a double change of their own after 65 minutes, including Jermaine Beckford, whose arrival was jeered by home fans for his salutes of acknowledgement to Leeds supporters at Elland Road in the Trotters’ last game before the international break.

May tried his luck from distance as Wednesday searched for a deserved winner and then steered another 83rd minute effort wide as the Owls continued to pepper Lonergan’s goal.

Liam Palmer was left frustrated by a late Lonergan save while Moxey came to the rescue with an even later goal-line clearance from a Tom Lees header as Wednesday were denied a third Championship victory.

“You want your midfielders and forwards sticking the ball in the net and doing what they get paid for,” said Gray.

“We totally dominated the game but we need to be more ruthless. I am disappointed we have dropped two points because it was such a one-sided game.

“We do shooting in training every day and you need a bit of calmness. The most important touch of a footballer is the last touch and we were trying to smash it in the net. Top, top players just roll it into the net.”