Preston North End 2-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 01, 2018 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton scored twice in the space of three first-half minutes as they came from two-down to claim a 2-2 draw at Preston North End.

Trailing to goals inside the opening 16 minutes from Callum Robinson and Alan Browne, Wanderers pulled one back through Sammy Ameobi on 38 minutes and were level moments later as Pawel Olkowski netted his first for the club.

Both sides had chances to win it after the break but failed to find a breakthrough, while tempers flared at full-time as a mass-fracas saw North End's Ben Pearson sent off for an altercation with Joe Williams - who was booked for his troubles.

Phil Parkinson made four changes to the Bolton side that started in defeat to Sheffield United last time out, as Andrew Taylor, Gary O'Neil, Yanic Wildschut and Williams came in at the expense of Jonathan Grounds, Luke Murphy, Josh Vela and Will Buckley.

Wanderers started brightly, with Ameobi looking particularly lively down the right-hand side, but it was the hosts who had the first opportunity of the game as Graham Burke saw a shot from distance roll harmlessly into the waiting arms of Ben Alnwick.

Bolton responded four minutes later through Ameobi, whose attempt from 25 yards was headed to safety, but it was North End who would break the deadlock as they made Wanderers pay for a mistake.

Brandon Barker pounced on a poor ball from Wildschut and immediately ran at an exposed defence. After holding off a challenge, he picked out the run of Robinson who coolly rounded Alnwick and slotted into an empty net.

Preston doubled their advantage with just 16 minutes played, this time in more spectacular fashion, as Browne volleyed into the top corner from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.

After watching their team lose heavily last time out, Wanderers supporters could have been forgiven for fearing the worst. But they stuck with their team as attempts to reduce the deficit came and went.

Ameobi was once again the main threat for the visitors, crossing for Josh Magennis to head into the hands of Declan Rudd, moments before forcing the goalkeeper into a save with a low cross of his own.

Rudd was at his best to deny David Wheater shortly before the half-hour, as his header from an O'Neil corner caused havoc in the Preston defence.

Bolton were given a huge scare on 32 minutes as Burke slid a shot inches wide of the post, a moment which would ultimately give the game a turning point.

With seven minutes of the half to play, Wanderers struck twice in the space of three minutes to somehow get themselves back on level terms.

First, a speculative long-range strike from Ameobi appeared to take a deflection before finding a way past Rudd, before Olkowski scored his first goal in English football with a shot from the edge of the box which found the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Incredibly, Bolton should have gone in ahead at the interval but Wildschut's close control let him down at the vital moment, just as he looked to have gone clean through on the Preston goal. Instead, the sides went in level at 2-2.

The hosts returned for the start of the second period with two changes to their side - Daniel Johnson and Tom Barkhuizen on for Burke and Tom Gallagher - while Bolton remained unchanged.

Those changes almost paid immediate dividends for Preston, as Johnson saw a shot deflected just wide of Alnwick's post after Robinson had beaten Olkowski for pace.

A period of inactivity in either final third prompted further substitutions on the hour - with Wanderers introducing Craig Noone for Wildschut, and the Lilywhites bringing Louis Moult on for Barker.

Bolton then enjoyed a spell of dominance, with Williams and Magennis both coming close, before Jason Lowe saw a shot cleared off the line after Preston could only half-clear a corner from O'Neil.

Lowe was involved again midway through the half. After his initial attempt was charged down, the ball broke kindly to Ameobi who could only drag a half-volley wide of the target.

O'Neil and Andrew Taylor were next to try their luck for the visitors, with both also failing to find a breakthrough, while Alnwick was kept alert at the other end as he denied Robinson from a narrow angle.

Aside from a late chance for Robinson, there was to be no further goalmouth incident at Deepdale as the teams were made to settle for a 2-2 draw.

It wasn't the end of the action entirely, however, as a mass-brawl after the full-time whistle resulted in Williams being booked for Wanderers, while Preston's Pearson was sent off for an alleged headbutt.

Preston North End: Rudd, Clarke, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Barkhuizen 45), Burke (Johnson 45), Browne, Barker (Moult 61), Robinson
Subs Not Used: Maxwell, Fisher, Earl, Harrop
Booked: Johnson
Sent Off: Pearson
Goals: Robinson 11, Browne 16

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor (Grounds 74), Beevers, Wheater, Olkowski, Lowe, O'Neil, J Williams, Wildschut (Noone 61), Ameobi, Magennis
Subs Not Used: Matthews, Vela, Oztumer, Donaldson, Hobbs
Booked: Magennis, O'Neil, Williams
Goals: Ameobi 38, Olkowski 40

Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 16,331

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Exeter City 2 1
20 Tranmere Rovers 2 1
21 Bolton Wanderers 2 0
22 Oldham Athletic 2 0
23 Grimsby Town 2 0
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone