By William Kirkpatrick
After a successful February, optimism was high among Wanderers fans going into their derby with Preston, despite being inferior to their rivals this season.
Preston looked to take control of the game to prevent an upset and Ben Alnwick was again the saviour for Bolton, preventing Preston from taking the lead in the first few minutes.
Striker Callum Robinson came close only to find the body of the keeper from close range and Billy Bodin was also frustrated by him in the first half.
Despite chasing the game from the very start, Bolton took the lead when a Filipe Morais corner was half cleared to Beevers who scrambled the ball home from close range.
Preston levelled after the break when a Callum Robinson through ball found Tom Barkhuizen and he slotted it past Alnwick.
That goal opened the floodgates, allowing Preston to run away with the game. Robinson’s low cross was forced in at close range by Sean Maguire and Maguire was in the right place at the right time just before the games end to latch onto a deflected effort and shoot into an empty net.
Bolton travelled to Reading for a vital fixture in the quest for survival. A win would have seen Bolton leapfrog their hosts – and put them level on points with Sheffield Wednesday in 18th place.
Adam Le Fondre led the Bolton attack against his former club, in place of Tyler Walker and the veteran seemed eager, coming close in the opening exchanges after latching onto some defensive mistakes.
Reading opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark. A smart one-two set Modou Barrow free who fired past Alnwick unexpectedly from the near post.
It wasn’t long until Bolton found a way back into the game as the Whites capitalised on Reading’s continued poor defending.
Morais was given time and space on the left-hand side to cross the ball into the path of the running Le Fondre. The Reading player's clearance attempt ricocheted off Le Fondre into the goal.
Bolton continued to create opportunities, but they were squandered and Reading came close to bagging a winner but Bodvasson’s effort was met by three flying Bolton defenders in the face of an open goal.
Bolton travelled to fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday after that, but the home side looked a much better outfit than the team Wanderers had beat twice earlier in the season.
The best chance of the first half fell to Le Fondre whose acrobatic effort was met by the body of the Wednesday keeper.
The game burst into life in the second half as Bolton looked to claim a victory. Morais caused problems, delivering a brilliant through ball into Sammy Ameobi who’s effort lacked the power to beat the keeper.
Ameobi later produced a trademark long-range attempt with enough sting to trouble the keeper.
It was Wednesday who undeservedly took the lead as George Boyd struck a low shot first time past Alnwick after a brilliant run and pass by Lucas Joao.
Wanderers continued to push and were rewarded for their efforts at the death. A lovely cross by Morais was met by the head of substitute Aaron Wilbraham.
Bolton then hosted high flying Aston Villa, and that optimism shown against Preston earlier in the month was all but blown away before kick-off by the ‘Beast from the East’.
The Whites took advantage of the wintry conditions and opened the scoring early on when an Ameobi corner was flicked into the path of Adam Le Fondre by Darren Pratley and the unmarked striker scored his second of the month from close range.
Bolton came close to doubling their lead unexpectedly through right-back Jon Flanagan. A looping Ameobi cross was headed down into the path of the defender whose attempt was cleared off the line.
Bolton’s dominance continued into the second half, as Le Fondre came close to doubling his tally for the game but he fired wide after making the most of an Alnwick clearance.
Villa increased the pressure, but Bolton held strong. Scott Hogan saw an effort that was cleared off the line by Flanagan before finishing up in the hands of Alnwick.
Right at the death, James Bree came close to snatching a point for Villa. His diving header was met with a strong hand by Alnwick, allowing Bolton to take three important points.