Report: Bolton 1-2 Bournemouth
A hearty Bolton Wanderers performance was not enough to prevent them from suffering defeat against ten-man Bournemouth in a game they practically controlled from start to finish.
After Yann Kermorgant was sent off for the Cherries in the first half, Jay Spearing cancelled out Callum Wilson’s opener with a fine left-footed strike from distance.
The Whites continued to push with Craig Davies coming closest when he saw a fierce strike deflected against the crossbar, but against the run of play Wilson broke free to score his second and inflict a cruel defeat on the Trotters.
Jermaine Beckford made his first league start of the season as interim head coach Andy Hughes made three changes to the side that lost to Fulham in midweek.
Lee Chung-Yong and Mark Davies also came into the side as Liam Feeney, Dean Moxey and Darren Pratley dropped out, while Chris Herd made home debut for Wanderers.
Elsewhere, Max Clayton was named on the Whites substitutes’ bench for the first time at BL6.
Wanderers enjoyed an explosive to the match and could have taken the lead inside the opening 30 seconds when Jermaine Beckford flicked a long ball forward into Craig Davies’ path.
The Welshman powered into the box, beating his man to the ball, before stinging Artur Boruc’s gloves with a fierce strike across goal.
The Whites came close again after ten minutes when Mark Davies stole possession midway inside the Bournemouth half before running at goal, only to see his strike from the edge of the box blocked.
Craig Davies was denied again by Boruc moments later after receiving the ball out on the left; his angled strike kept out by the Bournemouth keeper at his near post.
And it was soon a hat-trick of near misses for the forward after Lee Chung-Yong picked him out inside the area, only for a last-ditch sliding tackle from Steve Cook to deny Craig Davies just as he was about to pull the trigger.
At the other end Andy Lonergan was called into action for the first time when Callum Wilson unleashed a curling strike from the edge of the area, the Bolton keeper diving full-stretch to tip the ball behind.
Bournemouth came close again on the half-hour mark as Yann Kermorgant beat Lonergan with a curling free-kick, only to see Dorian Dervite appear in the right place at the right time to head his goal-bound effort off the line.
But that was to be the French forward’s last positive involvement in the match as he was sent off moments later for a high foot after catching Mark Davies in the head.
And the Trotters nearly made their man advantage count almost immediately when Beckford came agonisingly close to giving his side after cutting in from the left, only to see his strike at goal caress the post on its way out.
Bournemouth responded straight away as Matt Ritchie tried his luck from 30 yards, but Lonergan was again equal to it, tipping the ball away with another fine diving save.
The end-to-end nature of the half continued right until the interval, as Beckford again came close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time.
After being picked out but Neil Danns on the left-hand side of the box, the forward beat his man as he raced into the area but was only able to fire into the side-netting in what was the last opportunity for either side before the break.
Darren Pratley joined the action at half-time in place of the injured Mark Davies but Wanderers barely had time to blink after the restart before they found themselves behind.
Receiving the ball inside the Whites box, Wilson showed clever footwork to evade Bolton challenges before slotting under Lonergan from an acute angle to put the visitors ahead.
Ritchie could have made it 2-0 moments later after cutting in from the right, but the winger could only drag his shot wide when well-placed on the edge of the Trotters box.
However, Wanderers, awoken by that near-miss, responded almost immediately as captain Jay Spearing soon levelled the scores.
Leading by example, the former Liverpool ran onto a loose ball following good woodwork from Craig Davies, before taking the ball onto his weaker left foot and unleashing an unstoppable strike from distance beyond Boruc.
Provider almost turned goalscorer soon after as Craig Davies saw his fierce strike deflect off Tommy Elphick and loop over Boruc’s head, only to cannon back off the crossbar as the Whites came within inches of turning the game on its head.
Bolton were the team in the ascendency now and twice came close to taking the lead in a matter of moments.
First Beckford was unfortunate to not turn home the rebound after Artur Boruc fumbled Craig Davies’ powerful strike into his path, before Lee Chung-Yong tried his luck from range only to see his strike drift just wide of the near post.
Matt Mills was the next player to come close for the Trotters, rising highest to connect with Spearing’s corner but was unable to keep his effort on goal down.
However, Wanderers were made to rue their missed opportunities as Bournemouth retook the lead against the run of play as Wilson notched his second of the afternoon, poking home from close-range after running through on goal.
Having seen his side fall behind, interim head coach Andy Hughes responded by bringing on Joe Mason and handing a first team debut to Max Clayton as his side went in search of an equaliser, the duo coming on in place of Craig Davies and Neil Danns.
And it was Mason who came closest to once again drawing the Whites level with less than ten minutes left on the clock, however the forward could not get enough on Lee Chung-Yong’s near post cross to divert it goalwards.
Bolton continued to press, with Matt Mills have late appeals for a penalty turned away and Andy Lonergan even going up for a late corner, but ultimately they were unable to make the breakthrough as they fell to a cruel defeat against their south-coast counterparts.