Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • November 24, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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David Ngog scored deep into stoppage time to earn Bolton a 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion and preserve Dougie Freedman's unbeaten start to life as Wanderers boss.

The Wanderers goal was under siege for the majority of the game, with Gus Poyet's side hitting the woodwork on no fewer than three occasions, while Adam Bogdan was also on hand to deny Ashley Barnes from the penalty spot.

Brighton did eventually take the lead nine minutes into the second half, with Bruno smashing a stunning volley beyond Bogdan from 25 yards.

Bolton were desperately fortunate only to be trailing by one goal and they pulled off the unthinkable in the sixth minute of stoppage time, as Ngog slotted the ball into the net via the aid of a post.

Wanderers made four changes to the side that drew with Barnsley last weekend, with Tyrone Mears, Tim Ream, Benik Afobe and Darren Pratley taking the places of Sam Ricketts, Jay Spearing, Jacob Butterfield and Kevin Davies. Ngog took over the lone striker's role, with Zat Knight captaining the side.

The hosts enjoyed much of the early play and signalled their intent early on, with Liam Bridcutt and Craig Mackail-Smith both going close inside the opening 10 minutes.

They were then, literally, handed the opportunity to break the deadlock on 13 minutes, as a quickly taken throw-in caught the Wanderers defence off-guard, before Mackail-Smith's drilled cross hit the arm of Darren Pratley, leaving referee Mark Haywood with little choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Barnes stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, only for Bogdan to produce a fine save, before leaping to his feet to block a follow-up from the Brighton forward.

Wanderers were struggling to get a foot on the ball and they had Bogdan to thank again moments later, as the Hungarian goalkeepr produced a stunning fingertip save to push Dean Hammond's long-range strike onto the crossbar.

Bogdan was beaten shortly afterwards, but Andrea Orlandi's curling strike crashed back off the post and the game remained goalless.

Bolton needed to get themselves in the game and slow the tempo that the Seagulls had created. They did just that twice came close to opening the scoring themselves.

Chris Eagles brought a smart stop out of Tomasz Kuszczak, before a wicked cross from the former Manchester United midfielder flashed across the six-yard box, needing just a slight touch to put the ball into the net.

It wasn't long before Brighton were back on the ascendancy and they were to be denied by the woodwork once again, as Mackail-Smith headed an Orlandi cross onto the bar, before Matt Mills reacted quickest to clear the danger.

The final chance of the opening 45 minutes fell the way of the visitors, with smart interplay from Eagles and Tyrone Mears setting up an opportunity for Ngog, whose turn and shot looked goalbound, but for the timely interception of a Brighton defender, meaning the two sides went in level at the break.

Despite a poor showing from Freedman's side, it came somewhat of a surprise to see both sides come out unchanged at the start of the second period.

Bolton started well, after the restart, and after Eagles had just cleared the crossbar with a 30 yard strike, Ngog shot from the edge of the box, only to find a host of opposing defenders in the way of his shot.

The deadlock was finally broken on 54 minutes, albeit in controversial circumstances. The referee failed to spot an apparent handball from Marcos Painter, before Brighton were awarded a free-kick in dangerous territory from the same attack.

Wanderers failed to deal with the resulting free-kick and after the ball was only half-cleared, Bruno sent a stunning 25-yard half-volley into the top corner of Bogdan's goal.

Although his clean sheet for the afternoon had been wiped away, Bogdan was alert once again five minutes later to deny Brighton a second, as he rushed out of his goal to deny Orlandi a certain goal.

Butterfield and Kevin Davies were introduced as substitutes on the hour, with both being involved in attacking moves shortly after their arrival.

Shortly after Eagles had shot just wide of the target, Butterfield sent a curling strike narrowly over the top, before Kevin Davies saw appeals for a penalty turned down after he was seemingly barged off the ball inside the Brighton penalty area.

The final 25 minutes of the game flashed by without incident, with Brighton comfortable in their lead and enjoying a large share of the possession.

However, their inability to convert chances into goals cost them dear as Wanderers popped up with an equaliser deep into stoppage time.

Referee Haywood had signalled five minutes of added time and the home side were left to curse their luck, as Ngog slotted the ball home 20 seconds into the sixth added minute.

Eagles showed superb pace, power and determination to muscle his way beyond two Brighton defenders, before his cross picked out Ngog, who side-footed the ball beyond Kuszczak and in off the post.

It was to be the final kick of the game, giving Wanderers a richly undeserved point and extending Freedman's unbeaten start as manager to five games - the club's best run since the close of the 2007/08 campaign.

Bolton return to action on Wednesday evening, when they face local rivals Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Painter (Calderon 81), Hammond, Orlandi, Bridcutt, Barnes (Crofts 77), Mackail-Smith (Hoskins 88), Buckley
Subs Not Used: Brezovan, Dobbie, Dicker, Lopez
Goals: Bruno 54

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Knight, Warnock, Afobe (Butterfield 60), Ream (Spearing 78), Pratley (K Davies 60), Eagles, M Davies, Ngog
Subs Not Used: Lynch, Andrews, Ricketts, Chung-Yong
Booked: Mears, M Davies, Butterfield
Goals: Ngog 90

Referee: Mark Haywood
Attendance: 26,455

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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