Ten-man Bolton denied victory after late penalty drama in the capital
Ten-man Wanderers were denied victory deep into stoppage time in a 3-3 draw against their Crystal Palace counterparts on Monday afternoon.
Jamie Thomas opened the scoring for Bolton with a well-taken free-kick early on, while Connor Dymond drew Palace level shortly after.
Chris Cvetko then restored Bolton’s lead, while Thomas added a third and his second shortly before half time.
In the second period, the Eagles rallied and halved the deficit through Jake Gray, before missing two penalties late on to seemingly hand the Whites the win.
Not to be denied however, they were awarded a third deep into stoppage time with Dymond stepping up to fire home for a share of the spoils.
Jamie Thomas and George Newell, goalscorers in the Whites’ 2-1 win against Bristol City in their season opener last Monday, retained their places in the starting line-up for Bolton.
The hosts meanwhile boasted a number of first team names in their own team, with Wayne Hennessey, Marouane Chamakh and Bakary Sako all in from the off for the Eagles.
With the sunshine blazing in South London, Wanderers withstood a period of pressure from the hosts early on before being handed a glorious opportunity to take the lead after Jon Ceberio was hauled down by Roderick Collins just outside the box.
It was the chance the Whites had been waiting for, with Thomas making no mistake as he curled home the free-kick past a stranded Hennessey with the game just four minutes old.
The effort visibly boosted Bolton, with Alex Perry seeing his volley fly just wide of the upright soon afterwards.
Palace were struggling to get any kind of a foothold in the clash, while Thomas came close to a second of the game only to see Hennessey gather the ball at the second attempt after initially fumbling his shot.
Having struggled to make any real impact on the clash, Palace almost had an equaliser against the run of play in the 17th minute as Aaron Bissaka hooked the ball towards goal from close range, only for Niall Maher to scoop it away at the death.
Out of nowhere however, the home side were level with 22 minutes gone as Dymond unleashed from distance, with Harry Campbell in the Bolton goal given no chance as the shot rifled into the top corner.
Wanderers almost retook the lead just four minutes later however, only to see George Newell’s header from a corner-kick cleared off the line in a crowded six-yard box.
That near-miss only added fuel to the fire however, and they were rewarded moments later as Cvetko collected a loose ball just outside the box, lost his man and fired home past a helpless Hennessey.
The game then fell into a lull as the clock ran down to half time, but five minutes before the break saw Wanderers extend their lead even further as Thomas bundled home from close from after Hennessey had initially parried his shot.
The hosts did rally in a bid to reduce the deficit before the break, but Wanderers stood firm to ensure that their two-goal advantage remained intact at half time.
With no changes for Wanderers at the break, the second period began in a similar vein to the first with Palace threatening early on, with Maher being called upon to scoop the ball away from the path of Bissaka.
Jake Gray was next to try his luck for the home side, but Campbell was on his guard to parry his drive away from goal after finding himself one-on-one with the Palace man.
A break in play followed shortly before the hour mark as Cvetko received treatment, but as soon as the game was back underway the hosts managed to reduce the deficit, with Gray collecting a pull-back from Sullay Kaikai before slotting home.
With Cvetko unable to continue, Tyler Garrett was brought on in his place in the 63rd minute as Wanderers looked to calm themselves down following the Eagles’ second goal.
Looking for his hat-trick, Thomas attempted to foil the Palace defence with a long range free-kick shortly after, only to see a deflection off the wall temper the spin and ensure an easy catch for Hennessey.
Andy Kellett almost stunned those inside the KNK Stadium moments later as he collected the ball just inside Palace’s half before making a mazy run to the area, but the full-back’s final effort was deflected away from danger.
With just 14 minutes to go, Palace were handed the perfect opportunity to draw level as Alex Finney hauled down Kaikai in the area, with the defender receiving his marching orders as a result.
Kaikai was the man who stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, only to be denied by Campbell who got down well at his near post to keep him at bay.
Despite ultimately being denied, Palace proceeded to attempt to take advantage of their additional man and began to pepper the Bolton goal with shots including a piledriver from Dymond from just outside the area.
On the stroke of full time, Wanderers look set to be pegged back as Kellett hauled down Kaikai in the area, with the referee awarding Palace yet another penalty kick.
This time taken by Sako however, Bolton survived once more as he managed to clear the crossbar with his effort from 12 yards.
There was still time for more drama however, as deep into stoppage time, Griffiths fouled Kaikai once again in the area, with Dymond making no mistake at the third time of asking for Palace as he slammed home to earn them a share of the spoils.
Bolton: Campbell, Maher, White, Finney, Kellett, Perry, Campbell-Young, Ceberio (Griffiths 70), Cvetko (Garrett 63), Newell, Thomas
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Spooner, Honeyball
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Johnson-Schuster (Breimyr 46), Scales, Dymond, Collins, Croll, Kaikai, Gray, Bissaka, Chamakh (Anderson 59), Sako
Subs not used: Perntreou, George, Allassani
Photo: Michael Hulf