Match Report : 04/05/2013

Report: Wanderers 2-2 Blackpool

Bolton Wanderers bravely fought back to secure a 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool in their final game of the npower Championship season.

Blackpool raced into a two goal lead through Matt Phillips and Ludovic Sylvestre but the Whites levelled proceedings before half time after a quick fire double from Chris Eagles and Craig Davies.

With the game evenly balanced heading into the second period, Wanderers pushed for the winning goal but finish the 2012/13 campaign in seventh position.

The Whites can keep their heads held high after a fantastic three month period and remain unbeaten at home in the league in 2013, winning eight of their last nine games at the Reebok Stadium.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made three changes from last weekend’s 1-1 draw at champions Cardiff City.

Winger Robert Hall came in for his debut, while USA defender Tim Ream made his first start since February after Craig Dawson’s return to parent club West Brom. Freedman’s final alteration saw a change in personnel in attack, Craig Davies preferred to England U21 international Marvin Sordell.

Visitors Blackpool, managed by Paul Ince, made two changes from their home win over Derby seven days ago. Former Reebok man Chris Basham returned to the fold, likewise powerful frontman Gary Taylor-Fletcher as the Seasiders aimed to finish in the top half of the Championship table.

Blackpool went on the ascendency from referee Roger East’s first whistle and inside the first minute, Scottish international Phillips hit the side netting after cutting inside from the left flank.

The Tangerines’ quick start continued and one minute later, Phillips broke the offside trap but dragged his shot wide, not causing a concern for Adam Bogdan.

Soon enough, Bolton settled into the contest and Hall’s free-kick from the right wing was inches away from being directed past goalkeeper Matt Gilks by an orange shirt.

Tireless striker Davies, playing as a lone striker, nearly broke the deadlock in emphatic fashion on the quarter hour mark.

Meeting Eagles’ corner, the Welsh international, with his back to goal, cleverly flicked an effort towards goal which crept over the bar.

In the 22nd minute, Blackpool went ahead at the Reebok Stadium. After a neat passage of play involving Tom Ince and Taylor Fletcher, winger Phillips arrowed an unstoppable strike past Bogdan into the top right hand corner.

Wanderers didn’t let their heads drop after Blackpool’s opener and following another two half chances for Davies, debutant Hall tested Gilks with a firm right footed strike which was palmed away to safety.

But it was the visitors that found a second, as Sylvestre made a late run from the heart of Blackpool’s midfield to calmly side foot past Bogdan, leaving Bolton with work to do.  

Eight minutes before the half time whistle, winger Hall was replaced by Sordell as Freedman’s men looked for a way back into the game at the Reebok Stadium.

In first half injury time, top goal scorer Eagles hit a priceless goal for Wanderers and halved Blackpool’s lead.

Bolton’s number seven, who has found the back of the net in his last two games, showed great  intelligence and awareness to allow the ball to run across his body following Marcos Alonso’s pass before side-footing into the top corner past a helpless Gilks.

Moments later, and the Reebok went into raptures as Wanderers equalised to level proceedings before the half time whistle.

Frontman Davies, a nuisance throughout the entire first half for the Blackpool defence, saw his 20-yard strike take a heavy deflection leaving Gilks rooted to the spot. Both teams went into the dressing rooms at half time with the game evenly poised at 2-2.

Bolton began the second half by creating two chances inside the first ten minutes. First, Davies couldn’t connect with his left footed strike resulting in an easy collection for Blackpool shot stopper Gilks.

Next, winger Eagles, in search of his 13th goal of the season, hit an ambitious 35-yard free-kick over the frame.

It was end to end, with both teams playing at a high tempo in search of the game’s fifth goal. In a chaotic goal mouth scramble, Bolton nearly nudged the ball over the goal line after a dangerous Eagles corner, but neither Chung Yong Lee nor Sordell could find the finishing touch.

Shortly after, Phillips, who scored the game’s opener, tried to repeat his heroics of the first half from a similar position but flashed the ball wide.

With 20 minutes remaining, Spaniard Alonso, arrowed a 25-yard free-kick in search of the right hand corner but Gilks got down well to parry away for a corner kick.

In the 75th minute, Bolton boss Freedman made his second change, youngster Tom Eaves replacing goal scorer Davies after a tireless shift from Wanderers’ number 28.

South Korean international Lee came close to snatching a winner in the final five minutes after being played through on goal by opposite winger Eagles, however the 24-year-old could only hit the side netting.

Number one Bogdan, who has made many important saves for Bolton this season, made a crucial stop in the 89th minute from Sylvestre.

Pushing for the winning goal, Alonso made a clever run from defence but couldn’t direct his effort on target as the ball whistled over.

But Bolton couldn’t find the winning goal despite their valiant efforts with the score finishing 2-2. 

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