FULL TIME: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Bolton Wanderers 3
4:59pm Saturday 26th April 2014 in Sport
WANDERERS are on their best run of away form for 13 years after getting their work done early at Hillsborough.
Dougie Freedman’s side led 3-1 at the break thanks to goals from Neil Danns, Chung-Yong Lee and Liam Trotter, and could have had more.
The game might have settled in the second half – but Wanderers’ performance was nonetheless impressive, not least two home-grown products in full-back Oscar Threlkeld, making his debut, and second-half sub Andy Kellett.
It also means they have remained undefeated for eight games, their best run since 2001.
As the Bolton Association season got underway back home, it could have been a cricket score at Hillsborough by the half hour mark.
Freedman had clearly instructed his side to get the ball forward as quickly as they could to use Jermaine Beckford’s pace, and my how Wednesday struggled.
After falling foul of the offside trap twice, it was third time lucky for the Whites striker as he got behind the back four to roll the ball across goal for Danns to stab home ahead of Mattock.
Beckford’s battle with the linesman started there – but Wednesday didn’t learn from their mistakes and it was Mattock’s poor positioning that allowed Chung-Yong a run in on goal after 21 minutes, his scuffed shot completely wrong-footing Chris Kirkland and rolling into the net for his second of the campaign.
Rhys McCabe briefly troubled Bogdan with a low drilled shot from the edge of the box but when Liam Trotter powered the third of the afternoon, it looked like game over.
The ball sat up nicely 25 yards out for Trotter to send a dipping shot under the crossbar for his first goal in a Wanderers shirt.
Beckford had a goal ruled out for offiside and then fluffed his lines after springing the trap yet again.
Suddenly, Mattock had the whole stadium applauding with an even more spectacular effort – powered home left-footed from the edge of the box.
Wednesday’s hopes were raised and by the break, Coalan Lavery’s cross-shot had rebounded off the outside of Bogdan’s post.
But their susceptibility at the back hadn’t disappeared after the half-time whistle and the Owls were indebted to Kirkland for bailing them out soon after the restart.
Chung-Yong’s perfectly-weighted ball played Danns clean in on goal but as the midfielder looked to skip round the keeper for his second, Kirkland snatched the ball at the last possible moment.
Chung-Yong then had a chance to make it four himself as Beckford and Rob Hall combined before the Korean’s attempted chip landed the wrong side of the crossbar.
The game settled down in pace but was still far from an end-of-season affair.
Beckford and Onyewu got to grips with one another on the edge of the box, earning both players a booking.
And the massed ranks of Whites fans behind Kirkland’s goal in the second half certainly seemed to be enjoying their afternoon in the sun.
Freedman threw on Lukas Jutkiewicz and Andy Kellett – two Boltonians now on the pitch – and nearly got a fourth goal for his efforts.
Jutkiewicz got around Keiran Lee and pulled a cross back for Danns, who brought another excellent save out of Kirkland.
Wanderers’ fans gave the team a standing ovation as they left the field and will hope for more days on the road like this next season.