Derby extended their unbeaten league run to nine matches after a goalless draw with promotion hopeful Bolton.
A win for either side would have pushed them up to fourth place, but both struggled to create clear chances in front of Bolton’s biggest crowd in over 10 years.
The Rams were closest in the first half when Bolton defender Eoin Toal cut down an attempted clearance from Louie Sibley’s cross onto his own crossbar, with goalkeeper James Trafford being knocked out.
Elias Kachunga nearly won the title at the death of the hosts, but fired his wheelie kick straight at Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.
Playing in front of 25,428 fans – the largest home crowd since relegation from the Premier League in the 2011-12 season – Bolton frequently caused trouble with some impressive play around the Derby area.
However, the hosts found it difficult to break down a staunch Rams defense that had only conceded once in five league matches, with Oladabo Afolayan deflecting in the first half in one of only two attempts on goal.
The Rams lost their leading scorer David McGoldrick to illness and also struggled to convert good positions into clear chances, seeing Jason Knight tie in goal before the break.
Bolton’s fine move after the break, featuring Will Aimson, Kieran Lee and Liverpool loanee Conor Bradley, had a great chance for Dion Charles from 10 yards, but he fired a low shot past the left post.
On the other side, James Collins headed in when he was in a good position, and Knight did likewise in the 90th minute, but neither goalkeeper saved in the second half until Kachunga nearly snatched the winner with the final kick of the match.
Bolton, who won two of their past seven matches, remained in fifth place, 12 points behind the automatic promotion places, while fourth in the league tied in five moves with Derby to sixth place, another point behind.
Bolton manager Ian Evatt told BBC Radio Manchester:
“These matches – I’ve talked about moments in the week – they’re always tight and we have to learn how to make better use of those moments.
“We had the best chance of the match with Dion, [who] Maybe he should score in a really good spell after half-time.
“I thought when we showed some calm, we played through them well, but we didn’t show it enough. Maybe it was to the opposition, maybe because of the crowd and the magnitude of the game we were a bit nervous.
“We’ve given ourselves a good account. I think we can do better, but if you can’t win don’t lose, especially in these big six-point swing games.”
Derby County chairman Paul Warne told BBC Radio Derby:
“He’s absolutely squeezing it, the pitch wasn’t really suitable for either team to play on, and I honestly think today was one of those days where a goal comes more from a mistake than from good play.
“They got a couple of good long putts near the end where I thought it might just be for them, and we have two really good chances from set pieces which I’m disappointed we didn’t score from.
“I’m biased, but I thought we were the better team in a very tough game.”
formation – formation 3-4-1-2
- 18in the room
- 15emsonBooked in 89 minutes
- 21BradleyBooked in 61 minutes
- 16Morleyreplaced withBakayokoin a 79 ‘Session minutes
- 8Sheehanreplaced withDempseyin a 68 ‘Session minutes
- 20Minereplaced withwilliamsin a 67 ‘Session minutes
- 10Charlesreplaced withKachungain a 79 ‘Session minutes
- 17Avolianreplaced withPodvarsonin a 85 ‘Session minutes
formation – formation 4-4-1-1
- 3ForsythBooked in 26 minutes
- 6cash inflows
- 11Mendez Lingreplaced withOsolain a 86 ‘Session minutes
- 8a bird
- 7Barkhuizenreplaced withDobbinin a 63′Session minutes
- to rule:
- Samuel Parrott
The match is over, Bolton Wanderers 0, Derby County 0.
The second half ended, Bolton Wanderers 0, Derby County 0.
Attempt saved. Elias Kachunga (Bolton Wanderers) with his right foot from the center of the penalty area is blocked in the center of the goal. Assisted by Kyle Dempsey with a cross.
missed attempt. Jason Knight (Derby County) header from the middle of the box is too high. Conor Hourihane assisted him with a cross after a corner kick.
Corner, Derby County. against Kyle Dempsey.
Will Aimson (Bolton Wanderers) has been shown a yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Will Emison (Bolton Wanderers).
James Collins (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Connor Bradley (Bolton Wanderers).
Craig Forsyth (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Derby County. William Osola replaces Nathaniel Mendez-Ling.
James Trafford (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Iran Kachin (Derby County).
Foul by Elias Kachunga (Bolton Wanderers).
Max Bird (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. John Podvarsson replaces Oladabo Afolayan.
missed attempt. Eoin Toal (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Offside, Derby County. Louie Sibley attempts a through ball, but James Collins is caught offside.
Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. Amadou Bakayoko replaces Aaron Morley.
Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. Elias Kachunga replaces Dion Charles.
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