Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Middlesbrough

  • April 16, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/e1b76

Jordan Rhodes scored a stoppage-time goal, as Middlesbrough came from behind to beat relegated Bolton 2-1 at Macron Stadium.

Wanderers, whose relegation to League One was confirmed with defeat at Derby County last time out, took the lead just after the hour, as Josh Vela pounced on a loose ball inside the area before drilling low past Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.

Boro were level with 17 minutes to play, however, as Rhodes slotted home at the second attempt, after his initial effort was blocked by David Wheater, and he sealed victory in the dying stages by heading home unopposed inside the six-yard box.

Interim manager Jimmy Phillips made three changes to the team that started at the iPro Stadium, as Niall Maher, Mark Davies and Emile Heskey came in at the expense of Neil Danns, Liam Trotter and Kaiyne Woolery, all of whom were named amongst the substitutes.

The visitors started the better of the two sides, with Adam Forshaw volleying over inside five minutes, shortly before Albert Adomah saw a shot charged down by Maher as Wanderers struggled to get going.

Despite that, they did venture into attacking territory on the quarter-hour, with Zach Clough firing wide from the edge of the box, but it was Boro who came closest to breaking the deadlock in spectacular style.

After receiving possession, Stewart Downing took aim from 30 yards and was unfortunate to see a thunderbolt of a strike crash down off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared to safety. Appeals that the ball had crossed the line went unheard by referee Keith Stroud, a decision television replays proved to be correct.

Clough was soon back on the ball for the hosts, weaving his way beyond the challenges of two Boro defenders as he forced his way into the box. After going to ground, the ball fell into the path of Mark Davies, whose improvised back-heeled effort was well saved down low by Konstantopoulos.

Bolton came even closer as the half entered its final 10 minutes, with Clough bending a shot on to the roof of the net, but it was Rhodes who should have opened the scoring at the other end, only for his free header to land kindly into the waiting arms of Ben Amos.

Ritchie de Laet fired over with the final effort of the half, as the two sides went in goalless at the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which began with penalty appeals from Boro's Emilio Nsue being ignored by the officials.

Nsue was soon replaced by the on-loan Gaston Ramirez, with Aitor Karanka looking to add an extra attacking threat to his team, but that plan quickly backfired as Bolton took the lead just four minutes after his introduction.

A throw-in from Maher caused panic inside the Middlesbrough box, allowing Heskey to tee the ball up for Vela, who made no mistake in lashing home from close range.

That lead lasted just 12 minutes, however, as former Blackburn Rovers forward Rhodes drew his latest side level.

Picked out by a teasing cross from Forshaw, Rhodes' initial effort was blocked by David Wheater only to fall kindly at the second attempt for a simple tap-in past a stranded Amos.

The turnaround should have been completed from the next attack, as Ritchie de Laet stole in behind Dean Moxey. His ball across the face of the six-yard box seemed destined to result in a goal, but Ramirez somehow succeeded in firing high and wide with an open goal at his mercy.

More penalty appeals were rejected with 10 minutes to play, this time as Davies went down inside the Boro area, but that proved to be Wanderers' final piece of attacking momentum as the visitors pressed forward in search of a late winner.

With the clock ticking into stoppage time, Rhodes came within a matter of inches of winning it as he took a cross from David Nugent on his chest before seeing a bicycle-kick come back off the far post.

The same combination worked together again just 60 seconds later, although this time the end result did prove to be the winner. After ghosting in unmarked once more, Nugent's cross found an unmarked Rhodes and he had the simple task of heading home from close range to spark wild scenes amongst the away support.

Bolton were unable to mount a comeback in the remaining seconds, as they slipped to a sixth successive defeat. They return to action on Tuesday, when they welcome fellow strugglers Charlton Athletic to Macron Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Maher, Holding, Wheater, Moxey, Pratley, Osede, Vela (Woolery 88), Davies, Clough, Heskey (Trotter 70)
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Danns, Dobbie, Twardzik, Threlkeld
Booked: Amos, Vela, Davies
Goals: Vela 61

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, de Laet, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw, Nsue (Ramirez 57), Downing (Nugent 87), Adomah, Rhodes (Kalas 90+4)
Subs Not Used: Leadbitter, De Pena, Mejias, de Sart
Booked: Ayala, Nsue
Goals: Rhodes 73, 90+1

Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 18,196

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