Sanmi Odelusi's second-half equaliser earns a point against league leaders
Sanmi Odelusi scored a second-half equaliser as Bolton Wanderers claimed a point against league leaders Newcastle United for the second time this season.
One of only two sides to have taken points of former White Peter Beardsley’s side so far this season, Bolton fell behind early on as Jonas Gutierrez found the top corner from range as the hosts dominated the first half, with goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons keeping the Trotters in the game with a number of fine saves.
However, having already seen Georg Iliev hit the post, Wanderers fought back after the break, controlling proceedings with Odelusi firing home a deserved equaliser shortly after the restart.
Having returned from his loan spell at Oxford United, Joe Riley started on the right-hand side of midfield.
There were also starts in either full-back position for Kevin McNaughton and Dean Moxey, while Conor Wilkinson partnered Sanmi Odelusi in attack.
Wanderers found themselves under-pressure right from kick-off as an experienced Newcastle United side, containing first teams Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez and Samuel Ameobi, wasted no time in showing why they are the division’s league leaders.
With Newcastle passing the ball around well, keeper Ross Fitzsimons was called into action on a couple of occasions inside the opening ten minutes.
However, he could do nothing about the host’s opener as Argentina international Gutierrez found the top corner from range with an unstoppable drive following a corner.
Newcastle remained on top and could have doubled their lead twice in a matter of moments as first Adam Armstrong failed to connect with Ameobi’s low cross at the far post, before Liam Smith saw a powerful strike from distance deflected narrowly wide.
The Whites had their first major chance of note soon after as Georg Iliev found himself one-on-one. However, after rounding goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, the forward found himself forced outwide and could only hit the post from an acute angle with a cheeky backheel.
Bolton continued to press with both Joe Riley and Sanmi Odeulsi trying their luck from range to no avail, both firing harmlessly over the bar.
At the other end Gael Bigrimana dragged a 30-yard strike wide on the half-hour mark, before Fitzsimons was twice more called into action, first getting down well to gather Callum Roberts’ strike at his near post, before later palming Armstrong’s first-time strike away from goal.
Moments later Gutierrez thought he had his second goal of the night after jinking through the Bolton defence before bending a strike towards the bottom right-hand corner from just inside the area.
However, Fitzsimons was on hand yet again to deny Newcastle, diving full-stretch to get fingertips to the ball and tip it behind for a corner.
The keeper again came to Wanderers’ rescue just before the interval, keeping out another Armstrong effort to ensure the deficit was just one was the two sides went in at the break.
Having frustrated Newcastle for the majority of the first half, the Whites made the hosts pay for their missed opportunities as they equalised with their very first attack after the restart.
Following great persistence from Conor Wilkinson to win possession on the edge of box, Odelusi ran onto the loose ball in the area, before looking up and firing across goal into the bottom corner.
Bolton should have been ahead moments later as Quade Taylor found himself unmarked at the far post following an inswinging free-kick.
However, the centre-back was unable to keep his strike down, volleying over from close-range much to the relief of the flat-footed Newcastle back-line.
The Trotters continued to control the second half and had another good opportunity to take the lead as Riley rifled a 30-yard free-kick at goal. However, his strike was always rising as it flew narrowly over the bar.
Wanderers brought on Chris Lester and Kaiyne Woolery as they chased a late winner, and it was the former who almost helped create a second Whites goal.
Running down the right into the area, Lester fizzed a low cross across goal into the path of Iliev with the goal gaping. However, with the forward caught flat-footed, Lubimir Satka managed to get to the ball first, clearing behind for a corner.
With Bolton still looking the team most capable of snatching a late winner, Wilkinson was unfortunate not to fire them ahead after turning well in the box following a poor Newcastle clearance.
Trying his luck with a first time shot when under-pressure, the Republic of Ireland Under-21s international was unfortunate to see his strike float narrowly over the bar.
Both sides had chances to score a last-minute winner as Woolery was denied by Woodman at the near post after finding himself one-on-one at one end, before Armstrong saw his shot on the stretch from Adam Campbell’s cutback roll narrowly wide.
There was still time for one last chance for Newcastle as Roberts fired a 25-yard free-kick straight at Fitzsimons, but the Trotters held on to return home with a share of the spoils.
Bolton: Fitzsimons, McNaughton, Moxey, Finney, Taylor, Maher, Riley (Lester 63), Threlkeld, Wilkinson, Iliev, Odelusi (Woolery 72).
Unused subs: Campbell, Woodland, Matthews.
Newcastle: Woodman, Kemen, Santon, Bigirimana, Satka, Gillesphey (Gilliead 46), Roberts, Smith (Barlaser 78), Armstrong, Ameobi (Campbell 63), Gutierrez.
Unused subs: Harker, Heardman.