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Match Report


Posted Sun 13 May 12 at 18:34 PM

Report: Stoke 2 Bolton 2

Bolton Wanderers' 11-year stay in England's top flight came to a dramatic end on the final day of the 2011/12 campaign, with a valiant draw away at Stoke not enough to avoid relegation.

Despite falling behind in dubious circumstances when Jonathan Walters barged both Adam Bogdan and the ball into the net, Bolton admirably clawed their way back into the game with two goals in six minutes before the interval.

Mark Davies levelled the scores after a clearance ricocheted off the midfielder's leg and into the net before Kevin Davies' cross bamboozled Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen and crept in at the near post.

Stoke levelled midway through the second half as Walters doubled his tally, this time converting a penalty after Peter Crouch had taken a tumble under Bogdan's challenge.

Bolton pressed forward late on in search of a winner, but unfortunately it didn't arrive.

Owen Coyle made one enforced change, with Zat Knight taking the place of David Wheater who had been sidelined for nine months following a cruciate ligament injury. Up top Ivan Klasnic was given the nod ahead of David Ngog.

After taming an eager start from the hosts, Chris Eagles mustered the first meaningful shot on target, seeing an effort deflected straight down Sorensen's throat from distance.

Stoke's primary threat came down the flanks. On seven minutes Crouch farmed the ball from right to left, allowing for Ricardo Fuller to smuggle a near post effort that Bogdan did well to repel.

The hosts looked menacing going forward and after some quick thinking from a throw in, Crouch hit a half volley that sailed right across the face of Bogdan's goal.

Ethertington then forced Wanderers' Hungarian stopper into a sprawling save after some deft footwork on the edge of the area before the Potters eventually broke the deadlock in controversial circumstances.

Etherington curled a ball behind the Bolton rearguard for Walters, who after seeing his initial bundled effort plucked out of the air by Bogdan proceeded to barge both the Wanderers goalkeeper and ball over the line. After a glance in the direction of his linesman, referee Chris Foy awarded the goal, much to the frustration of everyone associated with Wanderers.

But Bolton responded wonderfully well.

Petrov's low cross was spilt by Sorsensen and almost ended up in the net via a deflection off Robert Huth.

Wanderers continued to knock on the Stoke door and were only denied an equaliser by the crossbar and a superb save from Sorsensen.

Kevin Davies rose between two Stoke defenders to head Sam Ricketts' cross onto crossbar. Stoke failed to clear the resulting loose ball, with Klasnic pouncing to fire a snap-shot goalwards from the edge of the area that Sorensen somehow managed to turn around his right post.

After plenty of huffing and puffing, the Stoke house was finally blown down with two bizarre goals in the six minutes leading up to half time.

First, after more constant Bolton pressure, a harried clearance from a Stoke defender cannoned off Mark Davies and fizzed into the back of the net.

Then, with half time imminent, Kevin Davies swirled a cross in from the right flank that eldued a flapping Sorensen at the near post with the ball somehow ending up in the back of the net.

Both sides exited down the Britannia tunnel in full view of jubilant packed away end who had clearely heard of Manchester City's lead against QPR.

Wanderers picked up from where they left off at the start of the second period, pressing numbers forward and causing problems.

Mark Davies teed up Petrov whose low shot across the goal agonisingly skimmed the foot of the post.

As the half wore on Stoke gradually began to come more and more into the game having being frustrated for large parts.

Etherington ghosted into the penalty area but couldn't steer his shot goalwards.

With 20 minutes to go, Coyle introduced David Ngog in place of Klasnic to add a more combative element to the frontline.

However Stoke still committed numbers forward and drew level on 77 minutes from the penalty spot.

After initially superbly saving from an unmarked Crouch six yards out, Bogdan scrambled to gather the loose ball and the Stoke forward tumbled to the ground.

Walters rifled home the resulting spot-kick to level the scores.

Despite news filtering through that QPR, despite being down to ten men, had somehow turned the game at the Etihad on its head, Bolton continued to press forward in search of a winning goal late on.

Chung-Yong Lee and Marvin Sordell were introduced with the two almost combining immediately.

Sordell's first touches of the game saw him scamper into the left channel before standing a teasing cross up at the back post for the waiting Korean. Chung-Yong steadied himself but fired wide.

On the break, Stoke did bundle the ball into the net, only for Cameron Jerome to have his celebrations cut short by a linesman's flag.

Wanderers persisted in injury time with a barrage of corner kicks culminating in another smart save from Sorensen, who was this time on hand to deny Tim Ream with a fine low save.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Huth, Whelan, Fuller (Jerome 52), Shawcross, Whitehead, Walters, Upson (Shotton 64), Crouch, Etherington, Wilkinson (Unused substitutes: Begovic, Jones, Delap, Woodgate, Palacios)

Wanderers: Bogdan, Boyata, Knight, Ream, Ricketts, Eagles (Chung-Yong 81), Reo-Coker, M Davies, Petrov, K Davies (Sordell 83), Klasnic (Ngog 69) (Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Ryo, Vela)

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