Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Middlesbrough

  • January 01, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough in their New Year's Day fixture at the Reebok Stadium.

After ending 2013 with defeat at Leicester City, Wanderers looked set to start the New Year in the same fashion after handing Boro a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes. Mustapha Carayol scored the first, capitalising on casual defending from Zat Knight before firing home from the edge of the box, before Curtis Main doubled their lead after taking advantage of miscommunication between Knight and goalkeeper Andy Lonergan and tapping home from close range.

Alex Baptiste pulled Wanderers back into the game on the half-hour, before a stoppage time volley from substitute David Ngog rescued a point for the struggling Trotters - who stay 18th in the Championship.

Wanderers made four changes to the side that was beaten at the King Power Stadium, as Chris Eagles, Joe Mason, Darren Pratley and Mark Davies came in for Jermaine Beckford, Andre Moritz, Robert Hall and Medo Kamara.

Bolton began brightly, Jay Spearing and Pratley both having early shots at goal, while Baptiste did well to block a goalbound shot from Carayol after he had got on the end of a Rhys Williams cross.

Boro were ahead with nine minutes played, though, as casual defending from Knight saw him concede possession just outside the box. Carayol received the ball and sent a first-time curling strike into the bottom corner of Lonergan's goal.

Mason and Eagles both failed to find a way through at the other end, as Bolton went in search of an instant reply, before the visitors doubled their advantage on 20 minutes after a mix-up in the Trotters defence.

Miscommunication between Knight and Lonergan led to the former prodding the ball back towards his own goal, where Main was on hand to tap the ball into the empty net for what will surely be the easiest goal of his career.

It was comical for the away supporters, with Wanderers supporters directing their frustration at Knight by booing his every touch.

Then, with half-an-hour on the clock, Freedman's side pulled one back. Baptiste, with three goals already to his name this season, received possession just outside the Boro box and stroked the ball into the bottom corner of Shay Given's goal to make the score 2-1.

Wanderers should have equalised 10 minutes before the break, as Lee Chung-Yong picked up on a poor clearance from Given. The South Korea international advanced into the box and cut the ball back for Spearing, who put his effort over the crossbar and into the stands - meaning Boro took their lead into the break.

The early stages of the second half were somewhat stop-start, with Baptiste requiring treatment for an injury and Boro's Daniel Ayala going in the referee's book for a foul on Chung-Yong.

The first real chance of the second period fell the way of the hosts, with many in the crowd thinking Mason had brought his side level. The on-loan Cardiff City forward ran deep into Boro territory but hit across his shot, with the ball hitting the side-netting of Given's goal.

A cross-cum-shot from Eagles was cleared to safety just before the hour, before a rasping drive from Spearing was parried away by a fine save from the Middlesbrough goalkeeper.

A double substitution on 65 minutes saw Beckford and Moritz take the places of Mason and Pratley, as Freedman looked to inject a little bit more flare into a static frontline.

But it was the visitors who looked the more likely goalscorers at this stage, with Albert Adomah heading wide and Jacob Butterfield bending a 25-yard shot narrowly past the far post.

Mark Davies flung himself in front of a shot from Grand Leadbitter as the game entered the final 10 minutes, before Main's back-post header was cleared to safety by Baptiste.

Beckford wasted two glorious opportunities as stoppage time beckoned, before Bolton hauled themselves level in the final minute of normal time. Ngog, who had come on as a substitute for Chung-Yong, found himself in a yard of space and his volley flashed through a whole body of players before nestling in the bottom corner to give Wanderers a point.

Championship action takes a break at the weekend, with the FA Cup taking centre-stage at the Reebok Stadium. Freedman's side play host to Blackpool on Saturday, with a place in the fourth round of the competition awaiting the victors.

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Baptiste, Ream, Pratley (Moritz 65), Knight, Mills, Chung-Yong (Ngog 78), Spearing, Mason (Beckford 65), M Davies, Eagles
Subs Not Used: Vela, White, Lee-Barrett, Kamara
Booked: Eagles
Goals: Baptiste 29, Ngog 90

Middlesbrough: Given, Williams, Friend, Leadbitter, Ayala, Gibson, Adomah (Emnes 89), Smallwood, Main, Butterfield (Ledesma 79), Carayol (Jutkiewicz 67)
Subs Not Used: Richardson, Varga, Konstantopoulos, Hines
Booked: Ayala
Goals: Carayol 9, Main 20

Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 17,410

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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