Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Middlesbrough

  • April 20, 2013 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/0925a

Bolton's play-off dreams are still alive, after they moved up to 6th with a 2-1 victory over ten-man Middlesbrough.

After a goalless first half at the Reebok Stadium, Wanderers took the lead five minutes after the restart as Chris Eagles' looping cross caught out Jason Steele and landed in the Boro goal. The visitors restored parity just five minutes later, though, as Kieron Dyer stooped to head home from close range following a cross from Mustapha Carayol.

Wanderers restored their lead just before the hour, as Lee Chung-Yong went down inside the box under a challenge from Jonathan Woodgate. Marvin Sordell took responsibility for the penalty and picked out the bottom corner, despite the best attempts of Steele.

Woodgate was booked for his challenge which led to Bolton's penalty and he was shown a second yellow card five minutes later for deliberately pulling back Sordell, who had got the better of the former Real Madrid defender down the left flank.

The victory is Bolton's eighth home league success in-a-row, marking their best run on home soil in 20 years. They move back into the play-off places as a result, one point ahead of 7th-placed Leicester City and just three behind 4th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion.

Trotters boss Dougie Freedman made three changes to the side that lost at Leicester City on Tuesday night, with Sam Ricketts, Craig Davies and Sordell taking the places of Danny Butterfield, Josh Vela and the injured David Ngog.

Bolton had scored in the opening five minutes in four of their previous five games and they looked determined to keep that run going in the early exchanges. Despite appearing to be running away from goal, Davies managed to thump a 25-yard strike towards the Boro goal and brought a fine save out of Steele.

From the resulting corner, Medo Kamara smacked a right-footed volley on target. The ball looked set to fly into the top corner, but Steele was on hand again to push the ball away with a stunning save.

After soaking up the early Bolton pressure, the visitors hit back and registered their first shot on goal with nine minutes on the clock. Scott McDonald had scored twice in this season's reverse fixture at the Riverside Stadium, but he was denied an opening goal on this occasion as Adam Bogdan collected his shot at the second attempt.

Both sides would then enjoy spells of possession, but with little activity in terms of goalmouth action.

Marcos Alonso forced Steele into a save at the midway point of the half, before Darren Pratley fired narrowly wide after finding space just outside the Boro penalty area.

Wanderers saw appeals for a penalty turned down, with 10 minutes of the first-half remaining, moments before Davies shot over the bar after getting the better of Woodgate.

The visitors came close to taking the lead with five minutes of the first half remaining, but Richard Smallwood's cross-cum-shot flew inches wide of Bogdan's far post with no Boro forward on hand to tap the ball home.

Rhys Williams saw a volley charged down in the closing stages of the half, before Boro had the ball in the net in stoppage time. Carayol had sneaked in behind the Bolton defence and slotted the ball into the bottom corner, only for the referee's assistant to rule he was in an offside position. That meant the two sides went in goalless at the break.

There were no substitutions at the start of the second period, and it was Middlesbrough who created the first opportunity as Bogdan pushed away a bending strike from Carayol.

Bogdan's save proved to be a vital one, because Wanderers instantly broke straight down to the other end of the field. Eagles cut in from the right-wing and his cross looped up and over Steele, landing in the bottom corner to give the hosts the lead.

The visitors equalised just five minutes, however, as Carayol got the better of Ricketts and crossed for Dyer to head past Bogdan from close range. It was the first goal Bolton had conceded at the Reebok Stadium since February 23rd - when Robbie Brady scored for Hull City in a 4-1 defeat.

It looked as though Middlesbrough would have the wind in their sails following that goal, but they had that wind knocked out of them on the hour as Woodgate conceded a penalty for a lunging challenge on Chung-Yong. Sordell stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and just managed to sneak the ball into the bottom corner, despite the best attempts of Steele.

Having gone behind for the second time, Boro's task was made much more difficult when Woodgate was shown a second yellow card on 64 minutes. Sordell had beaten the former England international down the right and was pulled back by the defender, leaving referee Darren Deadman with little option but to reduce the visitors to ten men.

Three substitutions followed in the moments that followed, as Tony Mowbray looked to reshape his side in an attempt to claw themselves back into the game. Bolton responded by handing a home debut to Tom Eaves, who came on for Davies with 17 minutes to go.

The Boro defence seemed content to sit deep and make Bolton work but with little in the way of attack, Wanderers looked comfortable in their lead. A half-chance fell the way of Eaves with five minutes left to play, but it turned into nothing as he was crowded out.

Five minutes of added time was signalled, and six passed by without incident as Wanderers held on to claim a comfortable victory that moves them back into the top-six of the Championship. Freedman's side visit Cardiff City next Saturday, when the Bluebirds are expected to be handed the trophy - after they sealed the title with a 1-1 draw at Burnley.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Ricketts, Knight, Dawson, Alonso, Chung-Yong, Pratley, Kamara, Eagles, C Davies (Eaves 72), Sordell (Butterfield 87)
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Ream, Hall, Vela, Lester
Goals: Eagles 50, Sordell 59 (pen)

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Williams, Woodgate, Halliday, McEachran (Emnes 59), Smallwood, Dyer (Bailey 70), McDonald, Carayol, Ameobi (Bikey-Amougou 66)
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Main, Miller, Haroun
Booked: Woodgate
Sent Off: Woodgate
Goals: Dyer 56

Referee: Darren Deadman
Attendance: 18,420

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 31 33
20 AFC Wimbledon 31 30
21 Tranmere Rovers 30 23
22 Southend United 31 16
23 Bolton Wanderers 29 11
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