Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Nottingham Forest

  • August 16, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/60a96

Bolton led twice against Nottingham Forest, but were pegged back on both occasions as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Macron Stadium.

Wanderers took the lead inside four minutes, as Joe Mason headed home Jay Spearing's inswinging free-kick, but Forest were level on 27 minutes as Britt Assombalonga fired past Adam Bogdan from close range.

David Wheater restored the home side's lead two minutes later, prodding home from close range, but Stuart Pearce's side earned a point as Assombalonga drilled home from the penalty spot on 35 minutes, after Spearing's had fouled the big forward inside the box.

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman made eight changes to the side that beat Bury on Tuesday night, with Adam Bogdan, David Wheater and Tim Ream the only ones to survive the cut. Mason was handed a third Wanderers debut in attack and was partnered with Craig Davies, as they replaced Jermaine Beckford and Conor Wilkinson.

The first chance of the game fell the way of the visitors, but a combination of Assombalonga and Matty Fryatt couldn't turn the ball past Bogdan from close range.

Wanderers were ahead on four minutes, though, as a left-wing free-kick from Spearing was glanced beyond Karl Darlow by the head of Mason - who has now netted on all three debut appearances for the club.

Mason and Neil Danns combined well to create a shooting opportunity with 13 minutes played, but the former had the ball taken off his toe as he was shaping to shoot.

Forest had two glorious chances to pull level on the quarter-hour, but Bogdan was alert not only to parry a goalbound header from Andy Reid but also to hold on to the rebound from Fryatt, who should have scored.

Mason and Davies almost capitalised on defensive mishaps as the game reached the midway point of the half, but Darlow rescued his side on two separate instances, before Forest levelled in the 27th minute.

The visitors had a good claim for a penalty, as the ball appeared to strike the arm of Wheater inside the Bolton box, but Assombalonga wasn't going to wait for the referee to make a decision and fired the ball low past Bogdan to even the scores.

Parity didn't last long, however, as Bolton restored their lead less than two minutes later. The Forest defence failed to deal with another Spearing free-kick and after the ball was played back into the middle, Wheater popped up at the far post to slot past a hapless Darlow.

Wheater came close to a second, as he headed a corner wide on the half-hour, but Forest were level 10 minutes before the break as referee Eddie Ilderton pointed to the spot for a clumsy challenge by Spearing on Assombalonga. The visiting forward picked himself up to take the resulting penalty-kick and fired the ball straight down the middle - just doing enough to beat Bogdan.

Spearing became the first player to enter the referee's book on 37 minutes, two minutes after he could have received another, before the two teams exchanged shooting opportunities in the dying stages of the half - as Fryatt and Mason both saw shots saved at either end, with the scores level at the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which started with Medo Kamara and Michail Antonio firing early shots at goal.

A goalbound header from Davies was deflected wide on 53 minutes, as Bolton looked to take the lead for a third time, but Forest came even closer to going in front when a header from Assombalonga sailed agonisingly wide of Bogdan's far post just before the hour.

Chris Cohen's deflected shot brought a smart save out of Bogdan soon after, before a number of substitutions from the home side killed the visitors' attacking momentum.

Assombalonga headed wide again as the game entered the final 20 minutes, while a speculative chip from Reid landed on the roof of the net as he attempted to catch Bogdan off-guard.

Forest came close once again, when Antonio headed wide on 79 minutes, before Davies should have won the game for Wanderers. Superb overlapping play from Kevin McNaughton resulted in him standing the ball up at the far post, where an unmarked Davies headed over the top from four yards.

Beckford came off the bench for the final few moments and had the ball in the net in stoppage time, only to be denied by an offside flag, while Lars Veldwijk shot wide at the other end as the two sides were made to settle for a draw.

The point gets Bolton off the mark for the season, ahead of their next outing - which is against Middlesbrough at Macron Stadium, on Tuesday night.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, McNaughton, Mills, Wheater, Ream, Chung-Yong, Spearing, Kamara (Pratley 66), Danns (Trotter 70), Mason, C Davies (Beckford 89)
Subs Not Used: Feeney, Dervite, Lonergan, Wilkinson
Booked: Spearing, Pratley, Mills
Goals: Mason 4, Wheater 29

Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Hunt, Hobbs, Fox, Harding, Burke (McLaughlin 90), Cohen, Reid, Antonio (Lichaj 86), Fryatt (Veldwijk 90), Assombalonga
Subs Not Used: Paterson, de Vries, Grant, Osborn
Goals: Assombalonga 27,35(pen)

Referee: Eddie Ilderton
Attendance: 15,753

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Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 19 17
20 Tranmere Rovers 18 17
21 Milton Keynes Dons 19 14
22 Southend United 20 6
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