Sunderland 3-3 Bolton Wanderers

  • October 31, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Sunderland and Bolton treated supporters on Halloween, as the Championship's bottom two played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Wanderers, without an away win at this level since April 2015, took little over half-an-hour to break the deadlock, as Sammy Ameobi pounced on a knockdown from Gary Madine to fire the visitors ahead.

Lewis Grabban brought the hosts level in the dying stages of the first-half, before putting his side in front on 57 minutes by slotting into an empty net from close range.

Bolton trailed for just three minutes, as Madine prodded home on the hour, and they led again seven minutes later when Karl Henry volleyed home after Antonee Robinson had intercepted a poor backpass.

Their wait for that elusive away win continues though, as Sunderland ensured they took a share of the points 11 minutes from time when Paddy McNair fired through a pack of bodies to make the final score level at 3-3.

Having stuck with the same side in each of their three previous outings, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson was forced into one ahead of kick-off as Robinson came in at left-back at the expense of the injured Andrew Taylor.

There was to be a late alteration to the substitutes' bench, however, as an injury to Adam Le Fondre during the warm-up saw him replaced by Jeff King.

The first chance of the game fell the way of the visitors, as a knockdown from Madine fell kindly at the feet of Mark Beevers, whose shot flashed inches wide of Robbin Ruiter's post.

Sunderland made appeals for a penalty in the 16th minute when Callum McManaman went to ground under a challenge from Robinson, but referee Tony Harrington ignored the protests and ordered play to continue.

The hosts maintained their spell of pressure and came close to breaking the deadlock four minutes later, with Aiden McGeady breaking free from two challenges before seeing his goalbound shot deflect behind off the head of Beevers.

Madine headed at Ruiter from a Vela corner shortly thereafter, moments before Adam Armstrong saw a strike charged down after his initial ball into the box was only half-cleared by the Black Cats defence.

Ruiter was alert to deny Madine twice more as the clock ticked past the half-hour, but the deadlock was broken on 32 minutes as Ameobi received possession 30 yards from goal. Having been afforded too much time and space to get a shot away, he picked out the bottom corner despite the best efforts of the Sunderland goalkeeper, who perhaps should have done better.

McManaman was off-target as the home side looked to get themselves on level terms before the break, something they did manage in the final minute of the half as a turn of pace from Grabban saw him leave Beevers behind, before poking home past a stranded Ben Alnwick.

There was one change as the players came out for the start of the second-half, with the hosts introducing James Vaughan in place of Jonathan Williams.

Vaughan, a summer signing from Bury, made his presence felt within five minutes of the restart, holding off a challenge from Beevers before shooting over the crossbar, as he signalled an early sign of intent.

He then saw appeals for a penalty turned down after he appeared to have been pulled back by David Wheater inside the box, but the home fans were celebrating on 57 minutes as Bryan Oviedo squared the ball for Grabban to tap past Alnwick to make it 2-1 to the Black Cats.

Their lead would last just three minutes, however, as poor defending saw a loose ball bounce through to Madine, who found himself one-on-one with Ruiter before prodding home to restore parity.

The net was bustling again midway through the half and it was courtesy of Bolton yet again, as they completed the turnaround to take a 3-2 lead thanks to more comical defending.

This time, Robinson managed to intercept a short backpass to Ruiter. With time to pick a cross, he found an onrushing Henry, who got between two defenders to volley home his first goal since arriving from Queens Park Rangers.

The scoring wasn't finished there, though, with the hosts again drawing level 11 minutes from time as McNair, on as a substitute just moments prior, blasted through a pack of bodies and into the bottom corner beyond a helpless Alnwick.

That would be all as, despite seeing four minutes added for stoppages, there was to be no further goalmouth action as the division's bottom two couldn't be separated.

In spite of extending their unbeaten run to four games, Wanderers remain at the foot of the Championship table. They return to action on Saturday, when they return to Macron Stadium with a clash against Norwich City.

Sunderland: Ruiter, Matthews, O'Shea, Wilson, Oviedo, Gibson (McNair 75), Ndong, McManaman (Watmore 61), Williams (Vaughan 46), McGeady, Grabban
Subs Not Used: Steele, Cattermole, Kone, Honeyman
Booked: Grabban
Goals: Grabban 45,57, McNair 79

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Robinson, Beevers, Wheater, Little, Pratley, Henry, Vela, Ameobi, Armstrong (Noone 84), Madine
Subs Not Used: Howard, Buckley, Cullen, Osede, Darby, King
Goals: Ameobi 32, Madine 60, Henry 67

Referee: Tony Harrington
Attendance: 26,395

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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