Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Cardiff City

  • December 05, 2015 | By Chris Mann
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Dean Holdsworth was an interested spectator on Saturday, as Bolton twice came from behind but ultimately lost 3-2 to Cardiff City at Macron Stadium.

Wanderers fell behind inside 13 minutes on home turf, as the on-loan Tony Watt ghosted in from the left before finishing past Ben Amos at the near post, but they were level within four minutes as Gary Madine picked out the corner of David Marshall's goal with a rocket from 25 yards.

Scott Malone restored the Bluebirds' lead eight minutes after the restart, only for Dorian Dervite to bring the hosts level for a second time on 71 minutes. But Anthony Pilkington, formerly of Atherton Collieries, smashed home a winner 10 minutes from time to give Cardiff a first league win at Bolton in 45 years.

The Trotters ended the game with 10 men, after Jose Manuel Casado was dismissed for a second yellow card in added time.

Neil Lennon made two changes to the Bolton side that started against Brentford on Monday, as Madine and Dean Moxey took the places of the injured Max Clayton and suspended Mark Davies, who was serving a ban for acculumating five yellow cards so far this season.

The hosts started well and twice carved out half-chances, with Madine and Shola Ameobi failing to test Marshall, but Cardiff took the lead with their first attack of the game.

Watt sailed past a hesitant Josh Vela on the left, cut inside and beat Amos at his near post to open the scoring.

That lead lasted just four minutes, however, as Madine stepped inside from the left before drilling an unstoppable strike past a helpless Marshall from 25 yards.

Bolton now had the wind in their sails and came close to completing the turnaround, with Neil Danns flashing a shot inches wide on his 100th appearance for the club, before Cardiff were forced into an early change as Fabio da Silva came on for the injured Lee Peltier.

Darren Pratley forced Marshall into a save midway through the half with a powerful strike that bounced just in front of the goalkeeper, while the Bluebirds supporters thought their side had gone ahead for a second time shortly afterwards after a long-range shot from Aron Gunnarsson ripped the net. Those celebrations were short-lived, however, as the ball had struck the stanchion before rolling behind the goal.

Bolton should have gone in ahead at the break, but a combination of the woodwork, superb defending and poor finishing ensured the score remained at 1-1.

In the final moments of the half, a goalbound shot from Pratley was deflected up and on to the crossbar, before the follow-up from Feeney was cleared off the line. Ameobi kept the ball alive, but, with both Pratley and Feeney ready to poke the ball home, neither managed to find a way past Marshall as the sides went in for the interval.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second half, which started with Pratley volleying wide from the edge of the box with a shot that was always drifting away from goal.

Then, just as they did in the opening 45 minutes, Cardiff scored with their first attack. This time, Malone raced through one-on-one with Amos. The Wanderers goalkeeper managed to parry a shot, but the loose ball cannonned straight back on to Malone and into the unguarded net.

Watt thought he had added a third shortly after the hour, only to be denied by the assistant referee's offside flag, before home appeals for a penalty were rejected by referee Tony Harrington when Feeney appeared to be clipped inside the Bluebirds box.

Pratley was fuming with the decision, forcing Harrington to issue a yellow card for dissent, before heading over to the touchline to have words with Lennon, whose complaints had overstepped the line.

A double substitution saw Stephen Dobbie and Emile Heskey replace Moxey and Ameobi for the final 20 minutes, two minutes before Wanderers hauled themselves level for a second time.

Both substitutes were involved, as a cross from Dobbie was flicked on by the toe of Heskey, leaving Dervite free to prod home for his first goal since signing from Charlton Athletic in July 2014.

Dobbie should then have put Bolton ahead for the first time. After latching on to a knockdown from Madine, Dobbie had the freedom of Macron Stadium to pick his spot, but he lacked composure and could only direct his shot wide of Marshall's far post.

That miss was to prove costly, as, two minutes later, Cardiff took the lead for a third time as Pilkington found space behind Vela before volleying past Amos to silence what had previously been a lively home crowd.

Casado struck the wall with a free-kick as Bolton looked for an immediate response, with Pratley firing the rebound over the top, while Heskey should have done better when rising to meet a cross from Casado, heading wide from eight yards.

The game was up for Wanderers in added time, as Casado picked up a second yellow card to leave his side with ten men for the closing moments, as Cardiff saw out the clock to pick up a first league win at Bolton since 1970.

Bolton remain four points from safety at the bottom of the Championship table, with a difficult double-header away at Hull City and Charlton Athletic lying in wait over the course of the next 10 days.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Vela, Dervite, Wheater, Casado, Feeney (Twardzik 90+4), Pratley, Danns, Moxey (Dobbie 69), Madine, Sh Ameobi (Heskey 70)
Subs Not Used: Gouano, Spearing, Rachubka, Holding
Booked: Casado, Pratley
Sent Off: Casado
Goals: Madine 17, Dervite 71

Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier (Fabio 23), Morrison, Connolly, Malone, Noone, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Pilkington (Sa Ameobi 85), Watt (Dikgacoi 88), Jones
Subs Not Used: Ecuele Manga, Whittingham, Mason, Moore
Booked: Fabio, Connolly
Goals: Watt 13, Malone 53, Pilkington 80

Referee: Tony Harrington
Attendance: 13,241

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
6 Cambridge United 3 6
7 Derby County 3 6
8 Bolton Wanderers 3 5
9 Portsmouth 3 5
10 Accrington Stanley 3 5
View Full Standings >>


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