Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Burnley

  • February 27, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/4dba6

Andre Gray struck twice as Burnley came from behind to beat Bolton at Macron Stadium and move to the top of the Championship table.

Wanderers were the better team throughout in Saturday's Lancashire derby and got the goal their efforts deserved on 69 minutes, when Liam Feeney stole in unmarked at the far post to tap in a Gary Madine cross.

That lead lasted just five minutes, though, as Gray slotted home from close range after his initial attempt was saved by Paul Rachubka, before taking advantage of a mistake from Jay Spearing and firing home again five minutes from time to seal all three points for the visitors.

Neil Lennon made one change to the Bolton side that started at Birmingham City on Tuesday night, as the fit-again Emile Heskey came in for the injured Dorian Dervite. Josh Vela dropped from midfield to right-back, while Derik Osede partnered Rob Holding in central defence.

Wanderers began the stronger on the teams, seeing much of the early possession, but it was Burnley who had the first chance when Ben Mee headed over from a Joey Barton corner inside nine minutes.

The home side immediately went down the other end and brought Tom Heaton into action for the first time, as he comfortably gathered a header from Holding, before Darren Pratley fired wide from the edge of the box at the end of a neat move involving Feeney and Zach Clough.

Bolton came close to breaking the deadlock on 20 minutes, as a Feeney cross was headed up into the air by Scott Arfield. The ball fell kindly at the feet of Vela, who volleyed just wide of the far post with Heaton beaten.

George Boyd was denied a clear run on goal by an outstanding challenge from Holding midway through the half, while Gray fired over the top from an acute angle shortly afterwards, before Sam Vokes headed wide from a Stephen Ward cross.

Barton is a player who has had to get used to the jeers of Bolton supporters over the course of the last decade and he became a target inside the final 10 minutes of the half, after he made his feelings clear to referee Stephen Martin after a handball decision went against him.

He was lucky to escape punishment for his verbal outburst, before a foul on Jay Spearing also failed to see him enter the book and prompted another round of boos from the stands.

The two teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second period and Burnley were denied the opening goal by a last-ditch challenge by Holding, as Gray looked set to go through on Rachubka, moments before Wanderers were presented with their best opportunity of the game.

Mark Davies' burst forward ended with him spraying the ball out wide to Dean Moxey, whose low cross fell perfectly into the path of Clough. Instead of allowing the ball to come across his body and onto his right-foot, Clough went with his left and cleared the crossbar from an unmarked position inside the box.

Burnley had the ball in the net 60 seconds later, only for Gray's effort to be ruled out for offside, before both Spearing and Feeney saw attempts land off-target at the other end as the clock ticked towards the hour.

Then, in a move similar to Vela's volley in the first-half, the visitors came agonisingly close to taking a lead when James Tarkowski connected with a volley of his own, only to see the ball roll inches wide of Rachubka's right-hand post.

With 69 minutes played, Bolton got the goal their performance deserved. Davies and Pratley combined to dispossess David Jones midway inside the Burnley half and the latter played the ball out wide to Gary Madine, whose low ball across the face of goal was tapped in by Feeney.

The Clarets took just five minutes to equalise, though, and it came courtesy of Gray. After losing the attention of Osede, Gray's initial shot was parried into the air by Rachubka but he made no mistake at the second attempt, slotting home from close range to bring the scores level.

Gray went on to net his second goal with five minutes to play, which came about after Spearing lost the ball to Barton inside the centre-circle. Ward's long ball put Gray clean through on goal, racing beyond Holding before firing past Rachubka to complete the turnaround.

There was still time for Bolton to push for a draw and they came close to claiming it when Heaton prevented Barton from heading into his own net in the latter stages, while substitute Stephen Dobbie fired over the top in the final minute as Wanderers slim chances of avoiding relegation into League One continue to look bleak.

They return to action next Saturday, when their quest for a first away win in 11 months takes them to Elland Road - with Leeds United awaiting.

Bolton Wanderers: Rachubka, Vela, Holding, Osede, Moxey, Spearing (Silva 89), Davies, Pratley, Clough (Dobbie 82), Heskey (Madine 65), Feeney
Subs Not Used: Danns, Wilson, Woolery, Campbell
Goals: Feeney 69

Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Boyd (Taylor 72), Jones (Ulvestad 84), Barton, Arfield, Vokes, Gray (Hennings 90+3)
Subs Not Used: Kightly, Robinson, Darikwa, Long
Booked: Arfield
Goals: Gray 74,85

Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 17,484

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Pos Team Pld Pts
17 Tranmere Rovers 1 1
18 Cheltenham Town 1 0
19 Bolton Wanderers 1 0
20 Grimsby Town 1 0
21 Oldham Athletic 1 0
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