Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 13, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton twice came from behind, but were ultimately beaten 3-2 by Brighton & Hove Albion as they returned to the bottom of the Championship.

Seven days after moving off the foot of the table for the first time in three months, Wanderers went in search of a first away win in 10 months and looked set to take at least a point after goals either side of the break from Emile Heskey and Jay Spearing had twice cancelled out Albion leads - earned through strikes from Jamie Murphy and Tomer Hemed.

Liam Feeney had the opportunity to put the visitors ahead shortly before the hour, only to be denied by David Stockdale when through one-on-one, and he was made to rue that miss when Beram Kayal fired home the winner 60 seconds later.

Wins for Bristol City, MK Dons, Fulham and Huddersfield Town, combined with draws for both Rotherham United and Charlton Athletic, leave Bolton seven points from safety in the division, as the 'Great Escape' begins to look less and less likely.

Neil Lennon made one enforced change to the side that started against Rotherham United last time out, as Derik Osede came in for his first appearance since November in place of the injured Dean Moxey.

Both teams started slowly, with Anthony Knockaert seeing most of the ball for the home side in the early stages, but the game suddenly burst into life with 11 minutes played as Kayal released Murphy down the left, who cut inside and fired past Ben Amos to open the scoring.

Bolton's first chance arrived with 20 minutes on the clock, as Darren Pratley lofted a ball to the far post, but Heskey was sufficiently distracted by Connor Goldson and headed wide from close range.

The veteran forward made amends for his miss just two minutes later, though, as a cross from Wellington Silva picked out Heskey, who slammed the ball past David Stockdale to level the scores at 1-1.

After providing the opening goal for Murphy, Kayal attempted to get on the scoresheet himself as the game approached the half-hour, only to be denied from distance by an outstanding Amos save, shortly before penalty appeals went unheard by referee Rob Lewis when Hemed went down under a challenge from Rob Holding.

Liam Feeney floated a free-kick over the crossbar as Bolton looked to establish a lead inside the final five minutes of the half, but the next goal was to fall the way of Albion as Hemed turned the ball home at the end of a lung-busting run from Knockaert.

Murphy looked set to add a third for Brighton in added time, but his header from a Bruno cross was well saved by Amos, who ensured the score remained at 2-1 going into the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second half, which began with Wanderers on the front foot, with Mark Davies denied a certain goal by an outstanding block from Bruno.

Bolton were level from their next attack, however, after they won a free-kick for a poor challenge by Knockaert on Silva. Feeney's delivery was only marginally cleared and Spearing drilled home the loose ball from the edge of the box to notch up his second goal in as many games.

Wanderers were then presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead, as Feeney dispossessed Bruno and ran clear on goal. But, with Stockdale left to beat, the Brighton goalkeeper made himself big and successfully made the save.

Albion went immediately up the other end and would have taken the lead themselves, but for Amos sprawling at the feet of Hemed, but the ball was in the net 60 seconds later as Kayal latched on to a back-heel from Hemed before slotting calmly into the bottom corner.

Supporters of both clubs stood to applaud the memory of Phil Gartside on 63 minutes, after he lost his life following a short battle against cancer on Wednesday.

The edge seemed to have been taken out of the game by that point, with both managers introducing substitutes prior to Bobby Zamora's 74th-minute effort, which clipped the outside of the post after a ball into the box from Murphy.

Fourth official Lee Swabey was then called into the action, after the main official, Lewis, decided to bring an end to his afternoon with what appeared to be a calf injury. His first act was to put Josh Vela's name into the book for a late challenge on Albion substitute Kazanga LuaLua.

Bolton came close to drawing level for a third time on 85 minutes, only for Pratley to drag a shot wide from just inside the box, while an ambitious effort at the other end from Kayal flew just past Amos' far post.

LuaLua drilled a free-kick straight at Amos inside six minutes added for stoppages, but that proved to be the final act of a disappointing afternoon for Bolton, who drop back to the bottom of the Championship table and facing the prospect of being cut adrift in the battle for survival.

They return to action next Saturday, when Queens Park Rangers, beaten 3-1 at home by Fulham in the lunchtime kick-off, are the visitors to Macron Stadium.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Ridgewell (Calderon 70), Knockaert (Skalak 90), Stephens, Kayal, Murphy, Zamora (LuaLua 75), Hemed
Subs Not Used: Crofts, Baldock, Ankergren, Sidwell
Booked: Stephens, Knockaert
Goals: Murphy 11, Hemed 43, Kayal 58

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Vela, Dervite, Holding, Osede, Spearing (Danns 89), Feeney, Pratley, Davies (Woolery 84), Silva (Clough 66), Heskey
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Dobbie, Twardzik, Finney
Booked: Vela
Goals: Heskey 22, Spearing 52

Referee: Rob Lewis (Lee Swabey 75)
Attendance: 26,717

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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