Kaiyne Woolery scores a late brace as Iain Brunskill's side secure victory over Gunners
Kaiyne Woolery came off the bench to score twice as Bolton Wanderers secured a courageous 3-1 victory over Arsenal.
Tom Walker fired the Whites into an early lead before Stefan O’Connor headed Arsenal level midway through the first half.
Ross Fitzsimons denied the lively Chuba Akpom on a number of occasions before Bolton sealed the points late on despite seeing less of the ball, Woolery emerging to score twice in the final five minutes.
Captain Oscar Threlkeld was handed a central-midfield berth against Arsenal as Iain Brunskill made three changes to the side that were taken to penalties by Wigan Athletic on Friday night.
There was also a place in the middle of the park for Medo Kamara, who started in place of Luke Woodland who limped off against the Latics, while there were also places in the starting line-up for Rob Holding and Alex Finney as Ryan Sellers and Kaiyne Woolery dropped to the bench.
After impressing against Wigan, Sanmi Odelusi carried on where he left off, cutting in from the left before unleashing the first shot of the night in what was a positive start for Wanderers.
Wrong-footing Chiori Johnson, the forward’s curling strike from the edge of the box looked destined for the bottom corner, only for keeper Matt Macey to get down well and tip it away at the last moment.
The Whites did not have to wait much longer to take the lead however, as Tom Walker opened the scoring with their very next attack.
Bringing a chipped ball forward down well, the Bolton number ten had the time and space to pick his spot as he found the bottom corner to fire his side ahead after just five minutes.
Chris Lester looked dangerous from the Whites and was unlucky not to double the Trotters lead from a quickly-taken free-kick out on the left.
Firing a low shot at goal, Macey looked beaten only for a defender to get back and hack Lester’s effort off the line.
Awakened by the visitors’ bright start, Arsenal began to start pressing with strike Chuba Akpom in particular looking dangerous.
Having already been denied by Ross Fitzsimons following a swift Gunners counter-attack, the forward created Arsenal’s equaliser midway through the first half.
Following a well-worked Arsenal corner, the forward received the ball on the edge of the box before picking out Stefan O’Connor with a pinpoint cross to the far post; the defender rising highest to head the ball back across goal past Fitzsimons into the bottom corner.
Wanderers responded immediately as Odelusi almost fired them back in front. Continuing to threaten by cutting in from the left, the forward unleashed a curling shot towards the top corner only to be denied by Macey once again.
Fitzsimons had to be alert to deny Akpom twice in a matter of minutes moments later, first getting down well to keep out the striker’s dipping free-kick before then gathering his next powerful strike on goal at the near post.
At the other end Medo Kamara’s 25-yard free-kick was deflected narrowly wide before Odelusi was unfortunate to see his header drift off-target from the resulting corner.
On the stroke of half-time Fitzsimons and Akpom reignited their battle with the Wanderers keeper once again coming out on top, getting down well to tip away the forward’s strike across goal from a narrow angle as the two sides went in at the break with the scores level.
Arsenal started the second half brightly and had the ball in the back of the Whites net inside the opening 60 seconds after the interval. However, Akpom’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Alex Finney and Quade Taylor held their ground well to deny Akpom again moments later, getting their bodies behind the ball to block the forward’s path after he ran onto a lofted Arsenal ball forwards, forcing him to shoot wildly from range.
Fitzsimons had to be off his line quickly to dive and gather the ball at Alex Iwobi’s feet after Tyrell Robinson had played in the midfielder with a through-ball behind the Bolton backline.
As Odelusi tired, Kaiyne Woolery was introduced to the action in his place shortly after the hour-mark and wasted no time in introducing himself to the host’s defenders, winning the Trotters a corner after a pacey solo-run.
Beating namesake Glen Kamara in the middle of the field, Medo powered towards goal with Wanderers’ next attack before unleashing a strike at goal from distance, only for a deflection to take the sting out of his effort as Macey gathered comfortably.
At the other end Akpom found Robinson on the left-hand side of the Whites’ area, but the defender was unable to find the target as he fizzed a strike across goal.
Chances were few and far between as the half wore on with Bolton proving stubborn to break down and keeping men behind the ball as they continued to frustrate Arsenal.
And despite seeing less of the ball, the Trotters took advantage to seal the win late on courtesy of two goals from substitute Kaiyne Woolery.
Firing Bolton ahead with three minutes left on the clock, the forward took advantage of a spill from goalkeeper Macey to convert from Ryan Sellers’ low cross.
And Woolery notched his second in stoppage time moments later, sprinting clean-through on goal after Arsenal penalty shouts were turned down at the other end to coolly slot home and secure the points.
Bolton: Fitzsimons, Holding, Maher, Finney, Taylor, Threlkeld, Lester, Medo, Iliev, Walker (Sellers 79), Odelusi (Woolery 63).
Unused subs: Campbell, Matthews, Ball
Arsenal: Macey, Johnson, Robinson, Hayden (Willock 72), O’Connor, Ajayi, Iwobi, Kamara, Akpom, Zelalem, Crowley.
Unused subs: Smith, Huddart, Sheaf, Mavididi