Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Portsmouth

  • April 05, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Kieran Sadlier struck a second-half penalty as Bolton came from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw with Portsmouth at the University of Bolton Stadium.

After a goalless opening period, the visitors broke the deadlock within five minutes of the restart as Aiden O'Brien slotted in from a Marcus Harness cut-back.

Wanderers claimed a point 14 minutes from time, however, as substitute Elias Kachunga was fouled inside the box by Hayden Carter and Sadlier stepped up to fire the resulting spot-kick into the corner to ensure the game ended all-square.

Ian Evatt made three changes to the side that started the weekend draw at Wigan Athletic as Declan John, Kyle Dempsey and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson all returned, with MJ Williams, Will Aimson and Kachunga all dropped to the substitutes' bench.

The home side started brightly and it was one of those returnees who fired the first warning shot, with Oladapo Afolayan and Dion Charles combining to provide John with a shooting opportunity - one which he failed to get on target.

Bodvarsson then had two chances to open the scoring, first seeing a half-chance blocked by a defender, moments before his deflected attempt was gathered comfortably by goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

Portsmouth's first sight of goal arrived with 13 minutes on the clock, with Michael Jacobs seeing a charge towards goal closed out by Ricardo Almeida Santos just as he looked set to pull the trigger.

James Trafford was called into action for the first time on 20 minutes, making a routine claim to pull Sean Raggett's looping header out of the air, shortly before George Hirst saw an acrobatic effort fly narrowly over the top as he connected with a corner from Joe Morrell.

Bodvarsson played a neat one-two with Afolayan before shooting over on the half-hour, while Harness pulled an effort wide at the other end as Pompey looked to strike on the counter-attack.

Bazunu then made an outstanding save to keep the scores level, sticking out a glove to deny Afolayan's first-time attempt as he got on the end of a pass from Sadlier.

The goalkeeper was in fine form again eight minutes before the break, this time reacting quickly to deny Bodvarsson, while the final chance of the half fell the way of Aaron Morley, who could only slice his drive high and wide from the edge of the box.

There was one change as the players returned for the second period, with Aimson on in place of Santos.

Aimson's first act was to find himself in the referee's book for a challenge on Hirst, from which the visitors broke the deadlock.

After an initial free-kick was deflected away from goal, Harness recycled the possession and squared for O'Brien to slot beyond Trafford from close range to make it 1-0.

Wanderers saw appeals for a penalty turned down when Bodvarsson went to ground shortly before the hour, seconds before Pompey broke and forced a save from Trafford through Hirst.

Charles stung the palms of Bazunu from the next attack but Evatt was clearly frustrated as the half progressed, with further changes seeing Kachunga and Williams on in place of the seemingly injured duo of Afolayan and Dempsey.

George Johnston made a heroic defensive block in the minutes sandwiched between those substitutions, putting his body on the line to thwart O'Brien a second after Carter's initial attempt had fallen kindly into his path.

Then, just as supporters had started to contemplate defeat, Bolton were awarded a penalty as Kachunga fell under a challenge from Carter and referee Marc Edwards pointed to the spot.

A disagreement between Charles and Sadlier caused a momentary tussle but it was the latter who claimed responsibility and made no mistake, finding the corner and turning around to see his Northern Irish team-mate first on the scene to celebrate.

Kachunga had been the provider for that equaliser and went about getting on the scoresheet himself in the latter stages, only to drag a shot wide from the edge of the box as normal time began to draw to a close.

Six minutes of time was added for stoppages, during which Williams saw a curling strike held on to by Bazunu, while Portsmouth came close to taking all three points at the death as Carter found space before fizzing a drive inches wide of the far post.

The draw leaves the two sides 10th and 11th in the League One table, respectively, with Pompey above Bolton in the table due to their superior goal difference.

Wanderers will look to rise into the top-10 this coming Saturday when they host play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday, knowing defeat will almost certainly end their paper-thin chances of a place in the top-six at the end of the campaign.

Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, Johnston, Santos (Aimson 45), Jones, John, Dempsey (Williams 70), Morley, Sadlier, Afolayan (Kachunga 65), Bodvarsson, Charles
Subs Not Used: Bakayoko, Amaechi, Thomason, Baptiste
Booked: Dempsey, Aimson
Goals: Sadlier 76(pen)

Portsmouth: Bazunu, Carter, Raggett, Robertson, Harness, Thompson (Williams 82), Morrell, Ogilvie, Jacobs (Curtis 82), O'Brien, Hirst (Walker 85)
Subs Not Used: Webber, Hume, Tunnicliffe, Romeo
Goals: O'Brien 50

Referee: Marc Edwards
Attendance: 13,809

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Portsmouth 19 42
2 Bolton Wanderers 18 39
3 Oxford United 18 36
4 Stevenage 20 36
5 Peterborough United 19 35
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2022/23 Player of the Year?
25.9% Conor Bradley
22.3% James Trafford
20.09% Dion Charles
10.05% Kyle Dempsey
6.82% Aaron Morley
6.45% Ricardo Almeida Santos
3.5% George Johnston
3.32% Eoin Toal
1.01% Kieran Lee
0.55% Gethin Jones