Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

  • September 26, 2015 | By Chris Mann
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Gary Madine netted a stoppage time equaliser, as Bolton came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with ten-man Brighton & Hove Albion at Macron Stadium.

Albion raced into a two-goal lead inside 35 minutes, as, first, Dale Stephens scored against his hometown club, before Jamie Murphy doubled the advantage with a simple tap-in from close range.

Neil Danns pulled one back before the break, drilling home from the edge of the box, before the visitors were reduced to ten men when the aforementioned Murphy was dismissed for a studs-showing lunge on Danns.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton responded by playing on the defensive for the final 15 minutes and his plan backfired, as Madine, who had a goal disallowed for offside in the closing stages, rose highest to head home a cross from Liam Feeney in stoppage time to complete a remarkable comeback for Wanderers.

Neil Lennon made four changes to the Bolton side that lost at Huddersfield Town last time out, with Francesco Pisano, David Wheater, Max Clayton and Gary Madine taking the places of Lawrie Wilson, Derik Osede, Stephen Dobbie and Emile Heskey - with Pisano making his debut since arriving on a free transfer from Cagliari in August.

Wanderers started brightly against the early Championship leaders, with a deflected looping effort from Clayton forcing Stockdale into an early save.

Prince-Desir Gouano got in well to deny Sam Baldock a clean run on goal at the other end, moments before Stockdale got down well to tip a goalbound strike from Feeney behind at his near post.

Wheater got himself in the way of a goalbound strike from Beram Kayal as Brighton took their turn in an end-to-end contest, while Danns, once again with the ball switching ends, drilled a 25-yard free-kick wide of the target after Wellington Silva had been fouled.

Silva was soon to be denied, as he pounced on a blocked shot from Madine, before the game turned in the space of just four minutes as Brighton stormed into a two-goal lead.

Their first fell the way of Bolton-born Stephens, who received the ball on the edge of the Wanderers box after Bobby Zamora had forced an error out of Ben Amos. The Trotters goalkeeper spilled the ball at his near post, allowing Zamora to roll it back for an advancing Stephens to fire into the bottom corner.

That lead was doubled on 35 minutes, as Liam Rosenior outpaced Wheater on the overlap before crossing low for Murphy to prod home from close range.

Danns pulled one back for the hosts four minutes before the break, as he stole possession just outside the Brighton box before firing low into the bottom corner of Stockdale's goal - ensuring the deficit was reduced to one going into the half-time interval.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which started with Wheater throwing his body in the way of a volley from Rosenior.

Rosenior tried his luck again moments later, forcing Amos into a low save before firing the rebound high into the travelling Brighton supporters behind the goal.

Play was halted midway through the half, as Bruno received treatment for an injury which would later see him replaced. Meanwhile, Dobbie came on for Silva on 71 minutes, with the on-loan Arsenal midfielder also appearing to be struggling with a minor muscular problem.

A half-volley from Feeney brought a smart save out of Stockdale shortly afterwards, moments before the game turned in an instant - as Murphy was shown a red card for Albion, as he attempted to make up for a heavy touch by going into a 50/50 challenge with Danns a little overzealous.

Bolton immediately went in search of an equalising goal and were denied by the legs of Stockdale, who kept out Madine, moments before Albion made their final change by sacrificing the attacking Baldock in favour of the defense-minded Inigo Calderon.

Brighton were content to hold on to their lead, sit back and attempt to strike on the counter-attack, asking the Bolton attack whether they were good enough to break them down and earn a late point.

Other than a wayward shot from Danns, Wanderers offered little threat to the Seagulls defence. They responded by introducing Tom Walker and Jay Spearing in place of Clayton and Danns, whilst also pushing Wheater up front for the final moments.

Madine thought he had equalised in the final minute of normal time, winning an aerial challenge with Stockdale and putting the ball into the empty net - only to be denied by an offside flag - but he wasn't to be denied his first goal in Bolton colours as he struck in the fourth of five added minutes to lift the roof off Macron Stadium.

A lofted ball into the box from Feeney looked simple enough to deal with, but Madine gambled early and outjumped his marker before directing his header into the bottom corner.

There was still time for either side to go in search of a winning goal and it almost arrived in the seventh minute of stoppage time, added for earlier treatment to Stockdale, but Gouano headed over from close range when it looked easier to score.

Despite that late miss, Bolton supporters went home satisfied after seeing their team claim an unlikely point against the league leaders, having earlier found themselves two goals down.

Wanderers return to action next Saturday, when they go into the international break with a game against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Pisano, Wheater, Gouano, Moxey, Davies, Danns (Spearing 86), Feeney, Clayton (Walker 84), Silva (Dobbie 71), Madine
Subs Not Used: Vela, Rachubka, Woolery, Finney
Booked: Amos
Goals: Danns 41, Madine 90+4

Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Bruno (March 72), Greer, Hunemeier, Bong, Rosenior, Stephens, Kayal, Murphy, Baldock (Calderon 79), Zamora (Ince 60)
Subs Not Used: Maenpaa, Dunk, Crofts, Manu
Booked: Greer, Kayal
Sent Off: Murphy
Goals: Stephens 31, Murphy 35

Referee: Mark Haywood
Attendance: 13,405

Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Tranmere Rovers 3 2
21 Oldham Athletic 3 0
22 Bolton Wanderers 3 0
23 Grimsby Town 2 0
24 Southend United 3 0
View Full Standings >>


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