Report: Cardiff City 2-1 Bolton
Ten-man Bolton Wanderers fell to a cruel last-gasp defeat away at Cardiff City on Saturday.
Fielding a youthful side, the Whites took an early lead through Zach Clough’s stunning free-kick.
However, the tide of the match changed when Niall Maher was dismissed midway through the first half.
Kenneth Zohore equalised for Cardiff shortly after the break, and despite Clough and Kaiyne Woolery both going close for Bolton late on, Peter Whittingham stepped up to seal the points with a 90th minute penalty.
Neil Danns replaces the injured Mark Davies while there were places on the substitutes' bench for youth team graduates Tyler Garratt and Jamie Thomas.
In a cagey start to proceedings at the Cardiff City Stadium, Wanderers were handed a couple of early scares as the hosts looked to threaten through a succession of set-pieces.
However, it was the Whites who took the lead through a set-piece of their own after Emile Heskey was hauled down 30-yards from the Bluebirds goal.
Zach Clough stepped up to take the free-kick and made no mistake as he curled a delightful effort into the top corner, leaving goalkeeper David Marshall stranded.
Looking to get the ball outwide to Craig Noone, Cardiff fought back immediately as Stuart O’Keefe volleyed wide of goal.
Continuing to find themselves under pressure, Bolton’s hopes of holding on for a first away win of the season were hindered after Niall Maher was dismissed for catching Noone with his elbow.
Forced into a defensive change as a result, Tyler Garratt was brought on at left-back for his Trotters debut in place of Darren Pratley, with David Wheater taking over the armband.
Noone remained heavily involved as the half wore on and forced a fine save from Ben Amos shortly before the interval after cutting inside.
But despite their man-disadvantage, Wanderers held on to retain their lead as the two sides went in at the break.
Oscar Threlkeld came to the rescue of the Whites shortly after the interval following a defensive mix-up as Cardiff continued to press forward.
However seen a Bluebirds cross divert goalwards past Amos, the defender recovered well to hack clear off the line with half-time substitute Sammy Ameobi lurking to convert.
Threlkeld was involved at the other end soon after as Bolton wasted a good opportunity to double their lead, as the defender burst forward to feed Emile Heskey.
Holding off two challenges on the edge of the box, the former England international squared the ball to an unmarked Clough, however he was unable to beat Marshall with a fierce drive across goal.
Clough went close again from the Trotters’ next attack after again linking up with Heskey, however, this time he failed to hit the target after running onto the targetman’s flick on.
But despite their bright start following the break, Wanderers were made to rue their missed chances as Cardiff soon levelled the scores, Kenneth Zohore finishing from an acute angle after muscling past Rob Holding.
Kaiyne Woolery replaced Heskey shortly before the hour-mark and almost made an immediate impact as he pounced on a short back-pass, only to be denied by Marshall.
Immediately breaking forward up the other end, Holding got back well to block Zohore and clear the danger when the forward looked to be clean-through the goal.
Ameobi and Noone both went close for Cardiff as the half wore on but were both unable to find a way past Amos.
Yet it was not all one-way traffic as the Bluebirds left gaps in defence for the Whites to attack in their own bids to push for a late winner.
Woolery and Clough both had only Marshall to rue for not snatching a late winner for Bolton after racing clear of the Cardiff defence.
But there was to be late heartbreak for the Trotters as debutant Garratt was adjudged to have fouled substitute Kadeem Harris in the Wanderers penalty area.
Peter Whittingham stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake as he emphatically found the bottom corner, inflicting a cruel defeat on a youthful Whites side.