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Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Colchester United

Hayden Mulllins' U's earn a point at high-flying Bolton

2 April 2021

A solid performance from Colchester United earned Hayden Mullins' side a valuable point at promotion chasing Bolton.

The home side were expected to overcome a Colchester United side with a new head coach, but a battling performance earned the U's a point on their first trip to Bolton Wanderes since 1988.

Apart from the opening twenty minutes, and the final five minutes, Colchester United were the better side, and would have been good value had they have been able to take their chances in either half. 

But a confidence boosting point will help Mullins' side heading into an all-important match at the JobServe Community Stadium on Easter Monday. 

Hayden Brown's first Colchester United starting eleven made three changes from how the side lined up in their last fixture, against Bradford City. 

Coming into the lineup was Miles Welch-Hayes, Tom Lapslie and Noah Chilvers, with Junior Tchamadeu, Ben Stevenson and Jevani Brown all named on the bench. 

The home side went close to opening the score early on at the University of Bolton Stadium from a Declan John free kick. Taken from just outside the D, John's left foot strike clipped the top of Dean Gerken's crossbar on its way out for a goal kick. 

Wanderers were the first team to force a save out of either goalkeeper in the game, with Gerken denying Doyle the opener on nineteen minutes. A blocked cross from the right wing fell to Doyle's head, the the Irishman heading the ball backwards only for Gerken to punch the ball away. 

And the U's 'keeper was called into action three minutes later, this time getting across to push away Keiran Lee's long-distance shot. Eoin Doyle looked like he might be able to tap in the rebound, but a good line from United's defence kept him offside, relieving the pressure with a free kick. 

Eoin Doyle did have the ball in the net with half an hour played, but again he was offside. A good ball out to Jones allowed a cross into the box, before Delfouneso forced a good save out of Gerken, as he pushed the ball onto the bar, with Doyle coming in on the follow up, only for the flag to be up for offside. 

But for the final fifteen minutes of the first half, Colchester United had the better of the play and looked the most likely to open the scoring. 

Pressing with high intensity when Bolton had the ball they were able to force their counterparts into mistakes and get forwards. Courtney Senior was a livewire for the U's, and created a shooting opportunity for himself after the ball was cleared to him from a corner. 

Skipping past Jones, he drove into the area, but dragged his effort wide from a tight angle with the box still packed from the U's corner. 

Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu almost pinched the ball off Gilks' toe when the home 'keeper was kicking the ball away. Racing to close down the 'keeper, Gilks slipped as he kicked it, only just clearing the U's midfielder. 

But neither side were able to capitalise on their good spells as the two teams headed to the changing rooms goalless at the break. 

Colchester United started the brighter of the two teams in the second half, with Chilvers having two efforts on goal. Courtney Senior set up for the first chance, playing Noah in through a gap in the eighteen yard box with Chilvers winning a corner from his blocked shot. 

From the corner, the ball fell out to Noah Chilvers again, with his powerful driven effort blocked by a fully committed Declan John on the edge of the area. It looked as though Bolton might have a chance on the break, but Ryan Clampin cleverly headed the ball away from danger. 

Chilvers' third chance of the opening ten minutes of the second half was probably the best of the game so far for Colchester United. Bolton failed to clear a corner well enough, the the ball landing at the left foot of Noah Chilvers, only for the midfielder to blast the ball over the bar. 

The U's had to be wary of the threats of the home side, but continued to press forwards. Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu was forcing the errors from Ricardo Santos, who a couple of times managed to bring Brendan down after he had the ball pinched away from him. 

There was a constant pressure going into the final five minutes from the game from Bolton, with efforts from Maddison, Baptiste and Miller all being denied by Gerken. Bolton were trying to show why they are one of the most in form sides in the country, but couldn't get through a resolute United defence lead by Tommy Smith and Tom Eastman. 

But the U's were able to hold onto a point, in what would be a morale boosting performance for both the players and Hayden Mullins for his first game in charge of Colchester United. 

With the additional point from the game, the U's now sit on forty points from thirty-nine games with further League Two fixtures taking place later in the day. 

Bolton Wanderers starting XI: Gilks, Jones, Williams, Santos, Delfouneso (Maddison 61'), Doyle, Gnahoua (Elbouzedi 61'), Baptiste, John, Lee, Afolayan (Miller 69'). 

Unused subs: Tutte, Brockbank, Isgrove, Thomason.  

Colchester United starting XI: Gerken, Welch-Hayes, Lapslie (Stevenson 77'), Smith, Senior, Pell, Chilvers (Cowan-Hall 88'), Eastman, Clampin, Sarpong-Wiredu, Nouble (Brown 77'). 

Unused subs: George, Doherty, Tchamadeu, Folivi. 

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