Peterborough United 5-4 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 22, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton began their Christmas schedule on the wrong end of a nine-goal thriller, as Peterborough United ran out 5-4 winners at London Road.

Wanderers were sluggish to begin with and found themselves facing an uphill battle with just six minutes gone, as goals from Lee Tomlin and Dwight Gayle had the hosts in a 2-0 lead.

Posh were good value for their lead, but the visitors pulled one back on the stroke of half-time - with Keith Andrews converting from the penalty spot to claim his first goal for the club.

Bolton began the second half in similar fashion to the first and were 3-1 down within two minutes of the restart, as George Thorne restored the two goal cushion. It would soon be 3-2, however, as Andrews slotted home his second penalty of the afternoon.

Things would get worse for the Trotters, though, with Mark Little and Gabriel Zakuani giving Posh a 5-2 lead with just seven minutes to go.

Benik Afobe, who had come on as a substitute for Jacob Butterfield, pulled one back with five minutes to go, before Martin Petrov, also a substitute, made it 5-4 just two minutes later.

The stunning comeback failed to materialise, however, as Wanderers slipped to defeat against the Championship's bottom club.

Dougie Freedman, who was taking charge of his 100th game in football management, opted to name the same side that beat Charlton Athletic at the Reebok Stadium last weekend - with Marvin Sordell and Rob Lainton taking the places of the seemingly injured duo of David Ngog and Andy Lonergan on the bench.

Last weekend's victory over the Addicks saw Wanderers claim their first clean sheet in seven games, but they were picking the ball out of the net within two minutes this time round.

A mistake on the halfway line from Zat Knight allowed Tomlin to race clean through on the Wanderers goal. The Peterborough forward closed in on goal, before calmly shifting the ball to his right foot and curling beyond a helpless Adam Bogdan.

Darren Ferguson's side continued their impressive start and were denied a second with just five minutes gone, as Bogdan scrambled across his line to turn Gayle's shot behind for a corner.

Gayle would get the better of Bogdan just 60 seconds later, though, as a loose ball fell to him inside the box, allowing him to send a stunning volley into the Wanderers net - giving Peterborough a 2-0 lead inside six minutes.

George Boyd came close to adding a third with 10 minutes gone, but his 35-yard strike sailed inches over the top of the Bolton crossbar.

Tomlin, who had earlier opened the scoring, came close to his second of the afternoon shortly afterwards, but his curling strike from the edge of the box clipped the outside of the post.

Gayle should have done better, after getting the better of Knight on 18 minutes, as he somehow failed to find the target from close range.

Bolton's first meaningful attack arrived with 20 minutes on the clock, but, as he advanced to the edge of the Posh area, Jacob Butterfield went to ground and was shown a yellow card by referee Nigel Miller - who deemed the on loan midfielder had dived.

Kevin Davies and Sam Ricketts would soon follow Butterfield into the book, as frustration began to get the better of the senior Wanderers players.

Following Ricketts' free-kick, Boyd stepped up to take a free-kick, only to see it deflect narrowly wide of the target.

Gayle missed a sitter with less than ten minutes of the first half remaining and, following a yellow card for Andrews, Tomlin brought a superb save out of Bogdan with a 25-yard free-kick.

Boyd missed a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0 in stoppage time, before Bolton pulled one back with almost the last kick of the half.

Chris Eagles had the ball in the net for the visitors, but referee Miller had already blown for a penalty as Ricketts was hauled to the ground inside the box. Andrews stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and made no mistake, as he scored his first goal in Bolton colours - ensuring the deficit was reduced to 2-1 at the break.

Both sides came out unchanged for the start of the second half and the first chance fell the way of the visitors, but Posh goalkeeper Robert Olejnik raced off his line to deny Jay Spearing a clear sight of goal.

Olejnik's quick reactions paid dividends for the hosts, as they would add to their lead just moments later. After the Trotters defence backed off, Thorne raced his way deep into Bolton territory and sent a low shot crashing past Bogdan to restore Peterborough's two-goal advantage.

That prompted Freedman into a double change, with Afobe and Sordell coming on for the ineffective duo of Butterfield and Lee Chung-Yong.

The changes almost had an immediate impact, with Sordell's goalbound strike seemingly stopped by a puddle inside the Peterborough box, allowing Olejnik to scramble the ball clear.

Bolton continued to press forward and were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon, as Afobe went to ground just inside the area.

Andrews stepped up for the second time in the game and, just as he did in the first half, powered his strike past the Peterborough goalkeeper - bringing the score back to 3-2.

Sensing something special may be about to happen, the travelling Wanderers supporters increased the noise inside the stadium and they were almost rewarded just after the hour, only for Afobe to be denied by a last ditch challenge.

Peterborough hit back and Tomlin dragged a shot wide of goal midway through the half, before Little found himself unmarked inside the Bolton box and lashed home the sixth goal of the game on 70 minutes - making the score 4-2.

Andrews was denied a hat-trick by Olejnik on 74 minutes, while Boyd and then Gayle were both denied by Bogdan at the other end.

The game then looked to be up for Bolton, with Zakuani rising highest at the far post to head home from a corner and give Peterborough a 5-2 lead with just eight minutes remaining.

However, Bolton refused to give up and they pulled one back two minutes later - as Petrov's corner found Afobe at the far post, allowing the on-loan Arsenal forward to divert the ball beyond Olejnik.

Unbelieveably, just two minutes later, Wanderers had the ball in the net again. This time, Petrov found space inside the Peterborough area and smashed a superb half-volley across goal and into the corner.

That goal led to Craig Alcock coming on to shore up the home defence and the tactical switch from Ferguson worked, as neither side failed to create any chances inside four minutes of stoppage time - meaning the Championship's bottom club held on to claim back-to-back victories.

Defeat for Bolton is just their second in 10 games under Freedman, who will be looking to bounce back when Wanderers play host to Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day.

Peterborough United: Olejnik, Bostwick, Zakuani, Knight-Percival, Little (Alcock 89), Thorne, Rowe, Boyd, Newell (Ferdinand 81), Gayle, Tomlin
Subs Not Used: Day, Brisley, Swanson, McCann, Kearns
Goals: Tomlin 2, Gayle 6, Thorne 47, Little 69, Zakuani 83

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Ricketts, Knight, Warnock, Spearing, Andrews (Petrov 81), Chung-Yong (Sordell 51), Butterfield (Afobe 50), Eagles, K Davies
Subs Not Used: Lainton, Alonso, Ream, Pratley
Booked: Butterfield, K Davies, Ricketts, Andrews
Goals: Andrews 45(pen),56(pen), Afobe 85, Petrov 87

Referee: Nigel Miller
Attendance: 6,600

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Bolton Wanderers 18 39
2 Portsmouth 18 39
3 Oxford United 18 36
4 Stevenage 20 36
5 Peterborough United 19 35
View Full Standings >>


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