Exeter City 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 12, 2021 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/ccc89

Arthur Gnahoua came off the substitutes' bench to score on his return from injury as Bolton came from behind to draw 1-1 at Exeter City.

Gnahoua, who had been out of action since dislocating a shoulder in December's defeat at Walsall, replaced Nathan Delfouneso with 19 minutes to play at St James Park and levelled within two minutes of his introduction.

His strike rescued a point for Wanderers, who had fallen behind shortly after the hour when Ricardo Santos bundled the ball into his own net after Matt Jay had worked his way beyond the challenge of Ryan Delaney.

After 10 days without a game, Ian Evatt made two changes to the Bolton side beaten at home by Crawley Town as Ryan Delaney and debutant Kieran Lee came in at the expense of George Thomason and the suspended Reiss Greenidge.

Wanderers shaped up in a modified version of a 4-3-3 formation, with Delaney partnering Santos in a defence which saw Harry Brockbank and Gethin Jones slot in at full-back.

A midfield three with Andrew Tutte dropping deep allowed Lee and Antoni Sarcevic to push forward, while Delfouneso and Lloyd Isgrove went wide in support of Eoin Doyle in attack.

Although they had been set up to attack, the visitors struggled to break through the Grecians backline in the opening 45 minutes as the two sides cancelled each other out.

The first chance of the evening fell the way of the home side as Ryan Bowman dispossessed Delaney on the byline, only to see his dangerous cross into the box turned behind by Tutte.

Bolton's first venture forward ended in similar circumstances, with Sarcevic seeing a low cross turned behind by Pierce Sweeney, moments before Jay shot wide at the other end after Josh Key had got in behind the Trotters defence.

Tutte dragged an effort wide on 20 minutes following some neat play out wide from Delfouneso, who hit the crossbar from the next attack after a deflected attempt from Lee had looped up into his path - although an offside flag had been raised in any case.

Bolton came even closer to scoring soon after the half-hour as Doyle was set free down the right by Tutte. The Irishman cut inside and fired low beyond Jon Maxted, only to see his goalbound effort turned away by the heels of a backtracking defender on the line.

But it was City who should have broken the deadlock at the other end as Jay escaped the attention of Tutte before sliding in Bowman, who rounded Matt Gilks before seeing his shot come back off the post and into the arms of a grateful Wanderers goalkeeper.

Jay was the provider again moments later, this time seeing a set-piece delivery headed wide by Tom Parkes, and he ended the half with the final strike on goal as his fierce free-kick was tipped over the bar by Gilks, who ensured the teams went in goalless at the interval.

There were no changes by either manager at the start of the second half, which began with Joel Randall being denied by the legs of Gilks after he had been put clean through on goal by Bowman.

Neither side fashioned any further chances until just past the hour mark and it would result in the opening goal of the game, as Santos put the ball into his own net.

With Delaney for company on the right-hand side, Jay worked his way beyond the Wanderers defender and into the box before seeing his low cross turned past his own goalkeeper by Santos to make it 1-0.

Trotters boss Evatt made a double change with 19 minutes to play as Gnahoua and Ali Crawford came on in place of Delfouneso and Lee, and it would pay instant dividends as the visitors drew level just two minutes later.

With Sarcevic finding space down the right, Doyle spread the play to the Bolton captain whose low cross to the far post was turned in from close range by Gnahoua on his return from injury to make it 1-1.

High in confidence, Gnahoua went in search of his second and came agonisingly close to finding the bottom corner with six minutes to play, while Isgrove forced a save out of Maxted in the latter stages with a stinging drive from the edge of the box.

It was Exeter, however, who looked the more likely winners as the clock ticked into stoppage time as substitute Jack Sparkes forced a save out of an outstretched Gilks, before Nigel Atangana's acrobatic overhead-kick clipped the top of the bar in the final minute.

In the end, neither side could find a winner as they were made to settle for a point apiece - a result which moves Bolton back up one place to 16th in the League Two table.

They return to action this coming Saturday when they are back on home soil against Cheltenham Town.

Exeter City: Maxted, Caprice (Hartridge 81), Sweeney, Parkes, Page (Sparkes 63), Key, Taylor (Atangana 56), Collins, Randall (Seymour 81), Bowman, Jay (Law 81)
Subs Not Used: Ward, McArdle
Booked: Atangana
Goals: Santos 62(og)

Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Brockbank, Delaney, Santos, Jones, Lee (Crawford 71), Tutte, Sarcevic, Delfouneso (Gnahoua 71), Isgrove, Doyle
Subs Not Used: Crellin, Mascoll, Darcy, Thomason, Baptiste
Booked: Sarcevic, Brockbank
Goals: Gnahoua 73

Referee: Sam Allison

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
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16 Port Vale 25 29
17 Bolton Wanderers 24 28
18 Harrogate Town 22 26
19 Scunthorpe United 24 26
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