On the 125th anniversary of the Football League, two of the association’s founder members - Burnley and Bolton - shared a point at Turf Moor as Darren Pratley cancelled out Danny Ings’ opener.
On September 8th, 1888, Trotters winger Kenny Davenport reportedly scored the first ever goal in a fixture against Derby County. But there wouldn’t be a repeat in the current day as it was the Clarets who started superbly with an intricate, high-tempo and free-flowing brand of football that immediately had their opponents against the ropes.
However, in the early stages the Wanderers rearguard stood resolute - marshalled by Zat Knight - and dominated aerially from Kieran Trippier’s dangerously swinging centres from deep. And it was the full-back himself who tried his luck early on from distance though goalkeeper Adam Bogdan was equal to the drive.
The Clarets pressed again and this time it came from the opposite flank as Junior Stanislas skipped beyond Alex Baptiste and crossed towards the penalty spot but neither Sam Vokes or Ings could apply the vital touch from six yards out.
But as the hosts committed men forward, Dougie Freedman’s side expertly found pockets of space in behind the Clarets midfield with Pratley, Chung Yong Lee and Chris Eagles constantly driving in to the holes. And it was from one such instance that Bolton’s tricky South Korean winger teed up Medo whose bending effort from 25 yards just cleared the angle with Tom Heaton scrambling.
As play reversed again, Trippier was becoming a menacing outlet and it was from his delivery that Ings swept a volley wide of the post though Bogdan had the effort covered when plunging to his right.
But then, in the 26th minute, came the breakthrough when Vokes, who had stepped in to replace Charlie Austin following the striker’s late move to QPR, flicked on a long clearance and Ings sprung in to action, comfortably beating David Wheater for pace before slotting past Bogdan via a nick off the defender’s boot. It was the 21-year-old’s sixth goal in five games as he continued his pre-season form.
However, Sean Dyche’s men were unable to retain their lead until half-time and the equaliser was a result of another penetrating Bolton break. Chung Yong Lee moved the ball infield to former Swansea midfielder Pratley who in turn switched play to Eagles on the right. The former Claret then returned the ball in to the box for Pratley who slammed the ball home unmarked after the home side had failed to track his run.
After the break both sides attempted to find the iniative but openings proved few and far between. Stanislas was the first to test the water with a free-kick that Bogdan fumbled past the post unconvincingly. Eagles then left the field to jeers from the home crowd and replaced by David Ngog before Stanislas tried his luck again with a wild effort from the edge of the box.
The former Hammer was involved again moments later when his corner was headed in to the path of Trippier by Knight but he smashed his effort in to the depths of the Jimmy McIlroy Stand.
Wanderers had a chance from a set-piece themselves when Wheater spun in behind Kevin Long from Chung Yong Lee’s swinging corner and the defender touched the ball in to the path of Ngog who was denied from close range after Heaton dived at his feet.
As the half progressed both managers made changes with Scott Arfield replacing Stanislas while Craig Davies was introduced at the expense of the anonymous Jermaine Beckford. The travelling substitute responded instantly, putting his laces through a 20 yard drive which forced Heaton in to a flying save to his right to tip the effort around the upright.
Ings and Medo saw speculative efforts go without reward as the pair looked to snatch maximum points for their respective sides but on referee Mark Clattenburg’s final whistle a draw seemed a fair result on the opening day of the Sky Bet Championship season.
The Clarets now travel to Bootham Crescent to take on League Two York City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, kick-off 7-45 p.m., before returning to league action on Saturday where they face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.