A draw was probably a fair result by the final whistle but Burnley, having gone in front, will be the more disappointed of the two teams.
That lead I thought had initially come through Danny Ings but news quickly filtered through that it had been recorded as a David Wheater own goal. There was, however, no mistaking the scorer of Bolton's equaliser. That was former Swansea midfielder Darren Pratley.
|Danny Ings wasn't credited with the goal|
The biggest decision I had to make on the day was whether it should be shorts or jeans. I opted for shorts. No wonder it was a difficult decision; during the game there were times when I was pleased with the one I'd made and other times, when the sun disappeared, I would have appreciated the jeans.
The sun greeted the two teams for this early kick off and there were no surprises in the Burnley team. With Michael Duff and Ben Mee still ruled out it was the same starting eleven that had started the last two friendlies with one major exception. Charlie Austin, sold to QPR, had to be replaced and it was, hardly surprisingly, Sam Vokes who got the nod from manager Sean Dyche.
There meant debuts for Tom Heaton and David Jones with the other two summer signings, Scott Arfield and Ryan Noble, on the bench.
Bolton it was who won the toss but they allowed us to attack the cricket field end in the first place, and for much of the opening quarter of the game it was the Clarets seizing the initiative. We had an early concern first as Pratley appealed for a penalty. Referee Mark Clattenburg correctly waved it away.
Some of our football in the early stages was excellent. We moved the ball well, and we certainly made the most of the two full backs getting forward, particularly Kieran Trippier, who had an excellent first game. He got himself into dangerous positions time and again.
There was little from Bolton, other than a shot over the bar from way out, but we needed a goal. It came in the 26th minute of the game but the goalscorer was not who I initially thought it was.
A long ball up the pitch from Bolton was expertly headed away by Kevin Long to Jones who in turn chipped the ball forward. Vokes won the header and Ings got the better of Wheater as he progressed into the Bolton box to the right of goal.
From my vantage point his shot went into the far bottom corner but I learned quickly it had been recorded as a Wheater own goal, and later heard Peter Beagrie reporting on Sky that he thought the former Middlesbrough defender had deflected an Ings cross.
Wheater certainly got a touch without which it would never have gone on target. Cross or shot from Ings? It's not clear but I'd tend to agree with Beagrie that he was perhaps looking to find oncoming striker Vokes.
It matters now. It was a goal and Burnley were 1-0 up. The lead lasted just eleven minutes. Our goal had sparked the visitors into a better spell and that spell brought them a goal. They just managed to keep the ball in play down the left before moving it inside for Pratley.
He played the ball out to the right where Chris Eagles was allowed far too much space to run onto the ball and pull it back for Pratley to hit home from around ten yards out.
Neither side really threatened again and probably the 1-1 scoreline at half time was about right.
I thought we started the second half the better of the two sides but were never really able to create that chance that might see us take the game away from Bolton. Both Dean Marney and Junior Stanislas blazed over from just outside the box while Stanislas, just a few minutes before came closest to getting that important second.
We won a free kick on the left hand side. He went for the near post but Adam Bogdan just about managed to keep it out at the expense of a corner. Had it gone in then I think some fingers might well have been pointing in the direction of the Hungarian goalkeeper who has recently lost his international place to Gabor Kiraly.
The goal didn't come and we did run out of steam a bit. Arfield was introduced for Burnley but with David Ngog and Craig Davies having come on for Bolton they were now playing a much more direct game and it was they now who looked the more likely winners.
They didn't create much. Davies did force Heaton into a good save with a long range shot and we were forced into a couple of panics in the six yard box before scrambling the ball away while at the other end Ross Wallace hit a free kick way over the top.
You always want to win your first game of the season but the last thing you want is to lose it, particularly if it is at home, and I don't think there will be too many complaints from either side with a point apiece.
Our problem is a real lack of players, particularly for the forward positions. With Duff and Mee out the 18 all but selected themselves yesterday with Joseph Mills the only player with any real experience missing out.
The sale of Austin was always going to hit us hard. It would have done had he signed for Hull, but it hit is that much harder coming less than 48 hours before this game, giving us no time to try and bring in a new striker.
Hopefully we'll have done just that by the time we play our next league game at Sheffield Wednesday.
For now, we'll settle for a point. One former manager would say we need another 49 points now before we crack on. After last season I'm not making any such predictions on what's required for safety.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, David Jones, Junior Stanislas (Scott Arfield 80), Danny Ings (David Edgar 89), Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Luke O'Neill, Brian Stock, Keith Treacy, Ryan Noble.
Bolton: Adam Bogdan, Alex Baptiste, Zat Knight, David Wheater, Marc Tierney, Chung-Yong Lee, Keith Andrews, Darren Pratley, Medo, Chris Eagles (David Ngog 64), Jermaine Beckford (Craig Davies 80). Subs not used: Andy Lonergan, Tyrone Mears, Tim Ream, Andre Moritz, Robert Hall.
Yellow Card: Chung-Yong Lee.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (County Durham).