Report: Bolton 2-2 AFC Bournemouth
Simon Francis’ second half strike ensured that the points would be shared between Wanderers and AFC Bournemouth in a 2-2 draw at the Reebok Stadium.
The Whites had taken two goal lead through Chung-Yong Lee and Lukas Jutkiewicz, but Lewis Grabban’s long range effort had given the Cherries hope before the break.
Despite Bolton enjoying opportunities to extend their lead in the second period, Francis struck with 25 minutes remaining to rescue a point for Eddie Howe’s side.
Dougie Freedman made four changes to the side which started against Ipswich Town last week, with Adam Bogdan, Chris Eagles, Chung-Yong Lee and Liam Trotter coming into the starting eleven in place of Andrew Lonergan, Darren Pratley, Neil Danns and Medo.
As the game got underway, it was to be the visitors who would enjoy the first notable opportunity as Harry Arter unleashed from distance, but his effort flashed narrowly past Bogdan’s upright.
No sooner had Eddie Howe’s men come close however, Wanderers were right back in the thick of the action as Trotter powered down the left flank before firing a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but nobody was able to meet the midfielder’s cross.
A chance which seemed to work wonders for Bolton’s confidence, Eagles forced Lee Camp into action a few minutes later following a mazy run down the wing, but his resulting effort rippled the side netting.
With both sides enjoying chances, Bogdan denied Lewis Grabban with 18 minutes gone as the striker broke free of the Bolton defence, with the goalkeeper smartly scooping the ball from his feet with a goal seemingly imminent.
Just a minute later however, the Whites looked certain to open the scoring as Eagles found Alex Baptiste in space, but the defender fired over with the goal at his mercy.
No sooner had they squandered such a glorious opportunity however, Wanderers finally broke the deadlock through Chung-Yong Lee with Mark Davies’ pin point pass into the feet of the winger leaving him with the simple task of firing home past a helpless Camp in the 20th minute.
A goal which appeared to breathe life into the team, the Whites proceeded to test the Cherries’ defence continuously as the clock ran down to the break and were rewarded with 33 minutes on the clock as Lukas Jutkiewicz opened his account for the club in style with a superb lofted effort over the Bournemouth keeper.
Having secured a deserved commanding lead, Wanderers were shell shocked less than 60 seconds later as Grabban halved the deficit with an incredible effort from all of 35 yards which left Bogdan with no chance.
Determined to restore their two goal advantage, Bolton peppered the Bournemouth goal as the half entered its final minutes with efforts including an audacious half volley from Mark Davies which flew inches wide of the post, but the half time whistle saw Wanderers in front.
Having ended the first period on such a high, the hosts almost had a third with the half just two minutes old as Eagles powered down the right flank and towards goal, but the winger could only find the side netting.
Eagles was once again in the thick of the action shortly after as he played the ball into the feet of Davies who scrambled towards goal, but Camp was out quickly to deny the midfielder at the death.
With Wanderers failing to make their possession count, Bournemouth still looked incredibly dangerous on the break with Grabban and Arter proving themselves a nuisance in and around the Bolton penalty area.
With one goal under his belt already Jutkiewicz almost had another on the hour mark following an impressive solo run from the half way line, but the striker was snuffed out with a Bolton goal appearing imminent.
The Cherries, clearly growing in confidence as the deficit remained at just one, pushed forward in their numbers and were almost rewarded when Steve Cook headed into the side netting from a corner kick with 25 minutes remaining.
Having put the Whites under pressure for much of the second half however, their determination paid off just a minute later as Simon Francis bundled the ball home from Ian Harte’s close range header to pull Bournemouth level.
A bitter pill to swallow for Bolton, the visitors almost completed what had seemed an unlikely comeback two minutes later as substitute Yann Kermorgant flicked the ball goalwards, but Bogdan was on his guard to palm it away for a corner.
As the clock ran down, Andre Moritz was thrown into the mix for added firepower as Wanderers went in search of a winning goal which almost came following great work from Eagles, but Camp was out quickly to smother the ball away from the advancing Bolton attack.
Tokelo Rantie looked set to hand the visitors the lead with 12 minutes remaining despite Bolton protestations for an offside flag, but Bogdan was out quickly to deny him and keep the scores level.
Jutkiewicz, a thorn in the Cherries’ side all afternoon, almost had Wanderers back in front with seven minutes remaining with an effort through a crowded penalty area, but the frontman saw his shot whistle past the post.
Baptiste was next to come close with the defender’s looping effort flying inches over the crossbar, while substitute Neil Danns’ curled shot failed to test Camp in the Bournemouth goal.
With the game entering added time, Wanderers pressed for a winning goal as both Jutkiewicz and Lee went close but their efforts were in to be in vain as the Cherries held out for a point.
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