Youngsters overturn deficit to run out winners against the Gunners
Andy Kellett’s late strike earned Wanderers all three points as they came from behind to record a 2-1 win over Arsenal at the County Ground.
The Gunners had broken the deadlock shortly after the hour mark through Thomas Eisfeld, but the Whites were soon back on level terms through Chris Lester who fired home from close range.
Not satisfied with just a point however, Bolton proceeded to complete the comeback with five minutes remaining as Andy Kellett breezed past the Arsenal defence before drilling the ball home to secure victory for the Whites.
Chances were few and far between inside the opening stages of the clash, but Wanderers were certainly enjoying the majority of possession.
The hosts looked set to create the first notable action of the game with three minutes on the clock as following a counter attack, Tom Walker lofted the ball into the area but it was easily collected by Arsenal keeper Matt Macey.
Andy Robinson, a constant threat early on, almost had his first goal for the club with ten minutes gone as he powered into the area, only to see his thunderous effort collected by Macey at the second attempt, while Chris Lester’s shot went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Having failed to trouble Arran Lee-Barrett early on, the Gunners enjoyed their first real opportunities of the game through Zak Ansah and Isaac Hayden, but the duo saw their efforts fly over the Bolton keeper’s crossbar.
Walker was again in the thick of the action with 20 minutes on the clock as he turned his man on the edge of the area, but the youngster’s resulting shot dragged wide of the upright with Macey untroubled.
Hector Bellerin was next to try his luck following a mazy run into the box, but his resulting ball across the face of goal eluded the advancing Arsenal strike force.
Clough almost handed Wanderers the lead shortly after as his shot took a deflection and almost wrong-footed Macey, but the Gunners’ keeper recovered to scoop the ball to safety.
Arsenal looked certain to break the deadlock on the stroke of half time as Jon Toral found himself in space just inside the 18 yard box, but Lee-Barrett was perfectly placed to tip his effort over the crossbar and keep the scores level at the break.
Toral almost made up for his earlier miss a matter of moments into the second period, but his ball into the path of Ansah wasn’t the best and ultimately lead to a shot well wide of the post.
The chance gave Arsenal a visible confidence boost, with Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill’s curling effort forcing Lee-Barrett into a smart save from close range with 51 minutes on the clock.
Having pushed through the opening stages of the second half, Arsenal looked to have taken the lead just after the hour mark as Toral smacked his shot onto the inside of the post, with Oscar Threlkeld acrobatically clearing Wanderers’ lines to keep it goalless.
No sooner had they spurned one opportunity however, the Gunners proceeded to open their account for the evening through Thomas Eisfeld who connected with Bellerin’s curling ball into the area to head home past Lee-Barrett from close range in the 63rd minute.
Not to be deterred however, the Whites hit back just five minutes later as following an impressive run from his own half from Zach Clough, the striker laid the ball off for Georg Iliev who unselfishly played it into the path of Lester who prodded home from a matter of yards out.
The goal seemed to be just the tonic which Bolton needed, Luke Woodland almost handed them the lead shortly after as he found himself unmarked just outside the box, only to be denied by the fingertips of Macey who pushed the ball round the post.
As the clock ran down however, both sides enjoyed chances to snatch all three points but it was to be Wanderers who found the back of the net with five minutes remaining as Kellett powered through the Arsenal defence before firing home from an acute angle.
Clough almost made sure of the result in added time as he found himself one on one with the Arsenal keeper, but Macey was on his guard to deny him as Wanderers ran out winners.
Bolton: Lee-Barrett, Maher, Kellett, Threlkeld, Holding, Woodland, Lester, Robinson, Iliev, Clough, Walker (Bastos, 83)
Subs not used: Ball, Thomas, Wilkinson, Kelly
Arsenal: Macey, Bellerin, Siemann, Ajayi, Ormonde-Ottewill, Kamara, Eisfeld, Hayden, Ansah (Lipman, 73), Zelalem (Crowley, 81), Toral
Subs not used: Huddart, Jebb, Iwobi