Report: Bolton Wanderers 1 - 1 Cheltenham Town

EOIN DOYLE’S ninth goal of the season rescued a point for Bolton Wanderers after Cheltenham Town threatened to steal victory.

The Irishman popped up to fire home from close range with just four minutes of the match remaining to cancel out Alfie May’s opener.

In truth, Wanderers should have been home and dry early in the contest after arguably their best opening 45 minutes of the season saw them create a whole host of gilt-edged chances.

But a defensive lapse early into the second-half allowed May to put the visitors in front against the run of play.

Ian Evatt made three changes to his starting XI and handed debuts to new signings Zack Elbouzedi and Ben Jackson.

The duo’s loan arrivals from Lincoln City and Huddersfield Town were confirmed earlier in the day. George Thomason was recalled with Andrew Tutte, Nathan Delfouneso and Harry Brockbank dropping to the bench.

Kieran Lee was also handed his first start at the University of Bolton Stadium after making his debut in the midweek draw at Exeter City.

Town striker Alfie May was put through early on but his effort went straight into the arms of Wanderers keeper Matt Gilks.

Jackson made an important block to prevent Matty Blair's attempted cross from the right-hand side as the visitors advanced forward once again.

At the other end, Wanderers looked spritely and Antoni Sarcevic was unfortunate to see his run and cross from the right hand side come to nothing.

Jackson’s shot with the outside of his left foot went wide after Thomason found the defender in space after some great play over on the right hand side involving both Lloyd Isgrove and Thomason.

Another encouraging foray forward from the hosts culminated in Elbouzedi curling an effort high and wide after he stepped inside to lose his marker.

A speculative cross from May found Andy Williams with his back to goal on the edge of the box but his tame effort went wide of goal.

Wanderers were unfortunate not to take the lead on the half-hour mark after Ben Tozer steered Isgrove’s flick from Gethin Jones’ cross goalwards. Griffiths was wrong footed but somehow managed to get a hand on the ball to turn it away for a corner.

A stunning cross from Isgrove on the right found Doyle at the far post moments later but the Irishman’s firm header was somehow cleared off his own line by Charlie Raglan.

Sarcevic found his fellow midfielder Thomason in space but the youngster’s volley flew over the bar.

Another great chance fell Wanderers' way moments later when another cross from Isgrove found Doyle; however, the striker’s header went just over the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

Wanderers were putting their visitors under incessant pressure and Griffiths came to the rescue for his side once again to tip over a Doyle header from yet another pinpoint Isgrove cross.

Seconds later and the keeper flung himself to his left to keep out a powerful Thomason shot from distance.

Evatt made his first change during the break with Tutte come on for Lee.

Doyle came within a whisker of putting his side in front after Jackson cut inside to float a lovely cross for the striker, who narrowly failed to get a glance on the ball which would surely have beaten Griffiths from close range.

The visitors took the lead against the run of play when May tapped the ball home from a inside the six-yard box after Matt Gilks had kept out Will Boyle's initial headed effort.

Wanderers made a double substitution just after the hour with Gnahoua and Brockbank coming on for Elbouzedi and Jones.

Gilks made a vital save when he tipped Boyle’s header over his cross bar and the visitors looked to extend their lead.

Evatt made his final change when he brought on Ali Crawford for Thomason on 67 minutes.

Griffiths pushed a powerful drive from Gnahoua behind for a corner as Wanderers pressed for an equaliser.

And that equaliser came with just four minutes remaining courtesy of Doyle who was set up by the direct running of Gnahoua.

Wanderers now face Tranmere Rovers in their next outing where they will seek to avenge a home defeat they sustained in December.


Bolton Wanderers:

Gilks, Jones (Brockbank 62), Almeida Santos, Delaney, Doyle, Sarcevic, Isgrove, Thomason (Crawford 67), Lee (Tutte 46), Elbouzedi (Gnahoua 62), Jackson.

Subs Not Used: Delfouneso, Mascoll, Baptiste.

Goal: Doyle (86).


Cheltenham Town:

Griffiths, Raglan, Tozer, Boyle, Blair, Freestone (Long 83), Azaz, Thomas, Chapman, May (Addai 90+1), Williams (Lloyd 83). 

Subs Not Used: Harris, Bowry, Clements, Campbell. 

Goal: May (54).

Read Time: 4 mins