Report: Bolton 2-2 Ipswich Town
Wanderers came from two goals down to earn a deserved point at home to Ipswich Town on Tuesday evening.
In a first half dominated by the home side, it was Mick McCarthy’s side who drew first blood against the run of play with 24 minutes on the clock, with Paul Rachubka unable to do anything to prevent Kevin Bru’s curling effort finding the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Second best yet again in the final 45 minutes, Town doubled their advantage with 19 minutes remaining as Christophe Berra nodded home a free-kick from close range.
Wanderers weren’t beaten yet however, with Lawrie Wilson rifling home from distance just a minute later to give Bolton hope and in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Stephen Dobbie made no mistake from the penalty spot to earn the home side a share of the spoils at the death.
Lawrie Wilson returned to the starting XI for Wanderers in place of Josh Vela, while Under-21s regular Alex Finney was amongst the substitutes for Neil Lennon’s men.
A late change meanwhile saw the inclusion of Tom Walker instead of Kaiyne Woolery on the bench with the young striker failing a late fitness test.
Sporting the club’s limited edition third kit for the occasion, Wanderers got the game underway under the floodlights and almost had the opener in side three minutes as Liam Feeney powered down the left-flank before pulling the ball back for the advancing Darren Pratley, but the skipper was unable to keep his effort down.
Bolton’s pressure continued with a succession of corners coming to nothing much although Mark Davies did test Bartosz Bialkowski after beating his man just outside the box.
The visitors could barely get out of their own half, with the Whites pressing in a bid to open the scoring against the Tractor Boys.
As the game headed towards its quarter mark however, Ipswich began to look more threatening with Freddie Sears’ shot from distance being parried out by Paul Rachubka and cleared away by Derik Osede.
The match was being played at something of a tentative pace for the most part, but in the 24th minute the deadlock was broken against the run of play as Bru fired home from distance and via the underside of the crossbar against the run of play.
Harsh on Wanderers given their dominance, they didn’t let their heads drop and looked for a way back into the game immediately with some clever build-up play going on in and around the area.
A spontaneous round of applause meanwhile in the 33rd minute of the clash was observed by both sets of fans in remembrance of the Burnden Park Disaster.
A goalmouth scramble ensued just two minutes later for Wanderers, with neither Zach Clough nor Liam Trotter able to put the ball in the net from a matter of yards out from a low-cross-goal pass.
Another one happened soon after, with the Ipswich keeper keeping out Moxey, Derik and Holding with a succession of fine reflex saves.
It was all Bolton as the half drew to its conclusion, with their frustration at coming so close to a leveller visible and palpable around the stadium.
Try as they might however, they went in at the break undeservedly behind in the encounter.
With no changes ahead of the start of the second period, the game restarted and Wanderers were on the attack from the outset in a bid to pull level early on.
And it almost came in the form of a deft Clough header as he attempted to direct Feeney’s cross goalbound, only to see his effort narrowly clear the crossbar.
Bolton’s pressure continued in a similar vein to the opening stages of the first half, with Ipswich virtually camped in the final third as they withstood a wave of attacks from the hosts.
The Tractor Boys were slowly creeping forward however on the hour mark, although they weren’t getting close enough to have any real sight of goal.
Yet again, frustration was the overriding emotion out there on the field, with Bolton giving everything for a vocal home crowd.
Wanderers made their first change of the game with a quarter of the clash remaining, with Gary Madine replacing Trotter as Lennon looked for added presence upfront as his side chased the match.
Despite struggling to even trouble the Bolton defence for the majority of the second period however, Town doubled their lead with 19 minutes to go as Rachubka lost his balance under pressure, with Berra heading home a free-kick at the far post.
The deficit was halved just 60 seconds later however, with Wilson drilling home from distance for his first goal in Bolton colours to give the Whites hope of salvaging a result.
An equaliser looked to have arrived in the 77th minute as Feeney’s cross eluded everyone and found Clough, but the youngster put his header straight at the keeper to his own dismay.
As the clock ran down, tempers began to flare with Jay Spearing receiving a booking for a late challenge while Tommy Smith saw a diving header go just wide for Ipswich.
With the full time whistle nearing, Bolton threw men forward in their numbers looking to force home an equaliser and when six minutes of additional time were indicated, Wellington Silva was introduced in a final roll of the dice.
In the 96th minute of the game however, Wanderers secured a deserved point from the penalty spot as Wellington was fouled in the box, with Dobbie slotting home from 12 yards to earn a share of the spoils with virtually the last kick of the match.