Stoke City 2-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • May 13, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton's 11-year stay in the Premier League has come to an end after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

A brace from Jonathan Walters was enough to send his old club down to the Championship, although both goals were surrounded in controversy.

The first arrived on 13 minutes as he challenged Adam Bogdan, bundling the Trotters goalkeeper and the ball into the back of the net, with referee Chris Foy awarding the goal.

Wanderers got themselves level six minutes before the break as Robert Huth's attempted clearance struck Mark Davies, before flying past Thomas Sorensen.

They took the lead on the stroke of half time, with Kevin Davies picking up the ball on the right flank, before seeing a cross-cum-shot beat the Potters 'keeper at his near post to send the travelling supporters into ecstacy.

The deciding goal came 13 minutes from time, however, as Walters beat Bogdan from the penalty spot after the Bolton stopper had brought down Peter Crouch inside the area.

Bolton started in nervous fashion, with Stoke dominating the possession in the early stages. The first chance of the game arrived in the sixth minute as Ricardo Fuller turned away from Dedryck Boyata in the box, before bringing a smart save out of Bogdan.

Martin Petrov struck a free-kick over the crossbar two minutes later, while Crouch came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock at the other end as he sent a volley inches wide of the target.

Matthew Etherington brought a smart stop out of Bogdan moments later, before Stoke took a deserved lead in controversial circumstances with 13 minutes on the clock.

Etherington's cross from the right was chested towards goal by Walters, who then bundled Bogdan and the ball into the Bolton net. Wanderers players, supporters and the manager, Owen Coyle, appealed to the referee, but the goal was allowed to stand.

Just after the midway point of the half, Walters was involved again. He received the ball from Dean Whitehead and after turning inside the box, sent his shot narrowly wide of Bogdan's post.

That seemed to spark Bolton into life and they came close to equalising just after the half hour as Sam Ricketts found Kevin Davies inside the area, but the Wanderers captain saw his looping header come back off the crossbar.

Less than a minute later, Sorensen was on hand to keep Stoke ahead as he turned a thunderbolt of a volley from Ivan Klasnic behind for a corner.

Bolton did manage to get themselves level, though, and it came in the 39th minute. Stoke failed to deal with a long kick from Bogdan and Huth's attempted clearance bounced off the legs of Mark Davies, who turned around to see the ball in the back of the net.

News then began to filter through from the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City had taken the lead against Queens Park Rangers.

That news appeared to work it's way on to the pitch and Bolton were ahead in the final minute of the half as Kevin Davies somehow found a gap at Sorensen's near post, curling in a cross-cum-shot from the right wing.

Bolton would take that lead in at the break and at that point, their Premier League status looked secure for another season.

The atmosphere inside the Britannia Stadium changed shortly after the restart, with news coming through that QPR had equalised at the Etihad, meaning Wanderers' destiny was now out of their own hands.

The first chance of the second half fell the way of Bolton. After receiving the ball on the left, Petrov sent a shot across the face of the Stoke goal and missed the far post by a matter of inches.

Potters substitute Cameron Jerome had a shot blocked by Tim Ream on 54 minutes, before Klasnic skied an attempt well over the bar at the other end moments later.

The hosts came close to levelling the game on the hour, but Etherington's stretching shot flew just over the bar as Bolton kept their lead.

With the midway point of the second half approaching, supporters had received word of QPR taking the lead in Manchester, meaning relegation was looking all but certain for Bolton.

The atmosphere in the stands didn't help matters on the pitch, with neither side managing to hold on to possession for any lasting period of time.

Crouch, Walters and Etherington all saw shots come to nothing, before Petrov sent a free-kick narrowly wide of the target with 15 minutes remaining.

Then, just moments later, Crouch saw a shot blocked superbly by Bogdan, before going down under the challenge of the Bolton goalkeeper and winning a penalty, which was duly converted by Walters to bring the scores level.

Substitute Lee Chung-Yong blasted over the bar with six minutes to go, before Wanderers were saved by an offside flag as Jerome turned home a strike from Crouch.

Wanderers won a succession of corners in stoppage time and moments after Manchester City had equalised at the Etihad, Ream had a close range header saved by Sorensen as time drew to a close on the game and Bolton's 11-year stay in the top flight.

News of a late City winner then filtered through, meaning Wanderers would have stayed up with a late winner. The harsh reality, however, is that Bolton will be playing Championship football next season.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Upson (Shotton 64), Huth, Walters, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Fuller (Jerome 52), Crouch
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Jones, Delap, Woodgate, Palacios
Booked: Huth
Goals: Walters 13,77(pen)

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Boyata, Knight, Ream, Ricketts, Eagles (Chung-Yong 81), M Davies, Reo-Coker, Petrov, K Davies (Sordell 83), Klasnic (Ngog 69)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Miyaichi, Vela
Booked: Ricketts
Goals: M Davies 39, K Davies 45

Referee: Chris Foy
Attendance: 27,789

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Charlton Athletic 21 26
15 Cambridge United 21 26
16 Bolton Wanderers 21 26
17 AFC Wimbledon 19 24
18 Lincoln City 20 21
View Full Standings >>


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