First win in five reignites European push
Both sides were guilty of missing gilt edged chances with Wolves’ Matt Jarvis and Bolton’s Matt Taylor missing one-on-ones.
As the game wore on both keepers and the woodwork did their best to keep the scores level as a draw looked the likely result.
However, in added time Ronald Zubar’s short pass back to Wayne Hennessy was seized upon by Sturridge who fired past the Welshman to give his new club all three points.
Bolton started the better of the two sides and Chung-Yong Lee could have opened the scoring but was unable to capitalise on Johan Elmander’s flick which evaded the Wolves defence after good work by Stuart Holden.
Jarvis should have given the away side a shock lead after racing onto Ronald Zubar’s clearance, the midfielder had only Jussi Jaaskelainen to beat, but he was unable to keep his composure and blasted wide.
He nearly paid for his miss moments later when Elmander’s shot required a great save from Hennessy in the Wolves goal after the Swedish striker was teed up by Kevin Davies.
Chung-Yong Lee then split the Wolves defence with a lovely lofted through ball which set Matthew Taylor one-on-one with Hennessy, but the Welshman managed to save the midfielder’s effort with his feet to deny him a second goal of the season.
In the 25th minute Wolves were denied a penalty by referee Peter Walton when Adam Hammill was bundled over by Zat Knight, a decision which incensed the Wolves coaching staff and players.
Hennessy was proving to be the busier of the two goalkeepers and produced another brilliant save to deny Kevin Davies, although the offside flag had been raised against the England international.
Both sides front men were giving the defences a tough time and Elmander proved this by shrugging off Richard Stearman, only for the impressive Hennessy to read the situation and gather the ball as it looked destined for Kevin Davies.
Sam Ricketts was unlucky not to open his account for the season when he received the ball on the right from Elmander, the Welshman cut inside before firing a fierce left-foot shot which beat his compatriot in the Wolves goal but shot flew just wide of the post.
Wolves had a great chance to snatch a goal minutes before the break after good work from Doyle down the left. The Irishman crossed for David Edwards but the midfielder, playing in an advanced role, was unable to get his effort on target striking the ball slightly off balance.
No way through | Bolton's Gary Cahill blocks Kevin Doyle
In the second half Mick McCarthy’s side came out the blocks the quickest and Hammill was unlucky to see his effort blocked after he had raced through the Bolton defence with an excellent run, in only his second game since joining the club from Barnsley in January.
Wolves continued to press and David Jones’ effort was well saved by Jaaskelainen after good build up play from the visitors.
Bolton nearly took the lead against the run of play in the 55th minute when Kevin Davies headed Taylor’s corner goal-bound but Lee was unable to beat Hennessy from close range and the Welshman gathered the ball at the second attempt.
The Trotters were spurred on by this chance and Wolves defender Christophe Berra nearly gifted them the lead after slicing a clearance towards goal from Lee’s cross but Hennessy was there again with a superb reaction save.
Johan Elmander has been in great form this season, but had a moment to forget when he scuffed a left shot wide in the 70th minute when the goal appeared to be at his mercy from 18-yards out after some great play from Mark Davies created an opening for Owen Coyle’s side.
Wolves came back into the game with five minutes to go when Doyle hit the post from inside the area after Zat Knight allowed the striker at the defence, the Irishman’s effort deflected off covering defender Paul Robinson onto the woodwork.
Bolton then nicked the points in injury time when the debutant Sturridge, on as a substitute, capitalised on an error from Wolves defender Zubar. The defender's short back-pass allowed the striker through on goal and the youngster made no mistake slotting past Hennessy to send the Reebok into raptures.
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