Evatt’s men were moving the ball well and when Aimson got things moving with a lovely lofted pass to Kieran Lee, the stand-in skipper fed Bradley to pick out Dion Charles for an effort he steered the wrong side of the post from 15 yards out. Afolayan then drove a ball into the near post which Bradley couldn’t divert goalwards after Lee and Iredale had worked the opening as the importance of a possible first goal continued to grow. And with the contest still on a knife edge and Derby responding, top scorer James Collins flashed a header into the side netting from a Conor Hourihane cross just after Wanderers had made their first changes with MJ Williams and Kyle Dempsey coming on to provide fresh legs in the middle of the pitch. Evatt also sent on Elias Kachunga, Amadou Bakayoko and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in a bid to try and win the game late on with the outstanding George Johnston taking over the captain's armband. The tempo didn’t let up and with Wanderers going right to the end they almost grabbed all three points with the last kick of the game.
They didn’t see a goal as Derby extended their unbeaten run to nine games in League One from a highly competitive clash. But Wanderers pushed them all the way to stay a place above the Rams in fifth place. And having not been able to produce a goal from a dominant spell early in the second – and then right at the death – Ian Evatt’s men made sure they wouldn’t suffer just a third home defeat of the season as a third successive clean sheet saw them end the year at the UniBol on a positive note. Wanderers were unchanged from the side that had started their win over Exeter before Christmas as they geared up for a crucial run of games either side of the New Year. It was certainly a high-profile start to a potentially pivotal period with the television cameras back in town to see two big clubs with a common current goal go toe-to-toe in a fantastic atmosphere.
Derby County vs Bolton Wanderers H2H - Livescore
Bolton Wanderers v Derby County Live Commentary, Dec 27