Bolton lose two-goal lead

Bolton Wanderers 2 Bristol City 2

BOLTON Wanderers failed their first home examination of the season - after throwing away a two-goal lead against spirited Bristol City.

The Lancashire side had gone in front at the newly-named University of Bolton Stadium thanks to strikes from Will Buckley and Josh Magennis.

But two goals in 17 minutes from Andreas Weimann and Jamie Paterson secured a point for City in a tightly-contested game.

Bolton, who stayed in the Championship by the skin of their teeth on the final day of last season, shocked West Bromwich Albion 2-1 last Saturday on the opening weekend of this campaign.

There may have been only two games played, but Bolton's supporters should be pleased with their team's encouraging start.

Manager Phil Parkinson brought in 13 new players in the summer, with 14 departing. And he gave home debuts to four of them in the shape of Pawel Olkowski, Jason Lowe, Luke Murphy and Magennis.

Without striker Clayton Donaldson - another recent recruit - and fellow forward Sammy Ameobi, Magennis worked hard on his own up-front.

Bristol City, who started the season with a 1-1 home draw with Nottingham Forest, arrived in town having sold their three best players in the transfer window in Aden Flint Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan, the latter only leaving - for Fulham - two days ago as the window slammed shut.

And it was Lloyd Kelly, Bryan's replacement at left-back, who impressed in the opening stages of this game, the youngster flying down the flanks and giving Olkowski the runaround.

The first chance of any note came on the quarter-hour mark when City captain Marlon Pack struck the ball from 35-yards out, with it flying just wide of the Bolton goal.

Kelley made a surging run into the box and struck the ball across the face of goal, but it was tipped away by Bolton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, before Lowe cleared the ball behind.

City continued to push forward and nearly took the lead when Niclas Eliasson's free-kick evaded the home defence and smacked the crossbar.

At the other end, Josh Vela had a great opportunity to put his side in front from the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked by Nathan Baker.

If the first-half offered little in the way of excitement, then the second 45 minutes certainly made up for it.

First, Weimann's cross was met by Paterson, who was only denied by a finger-tip save from Alnwick.

Then Murphy's tackle inadvertently fell into Eliasson's path, who went down in the box following a David Wheater challenge, but referee John Brooks booked the Swede for simulation - much to the fury of City boss Lee Johnson and his staff.

Bolton took the lead, against the run of the play, in the 57th minute when Vela's corner was headed towards goal by captain Wheater and Buckley scrambled the ball over the line.

And the home side made it two three minutes later.

Olkowski's cross reached Magennis and the Northern Irish international turned his defender and launched the ball past City goalkeeper Nikki Maenpaa.

Four minutes after Bolton scored their second, City pulled one back when Weimann beat the offside trap after reaching Pack's pass and placed the ball into the net past Alnwick.

The visitors continued to toil, pushing Bolton back into their own half, and nearly levelled matters through Eliasson.

And they got their reward nine minutes from full-time when Paterson cut in to the box on his right foot and curled the ball into the far corner of the net.

A frantic finish tested the home fans' nerves, especially when City so nearly won the game during stoppage time.

Mohamed Eisa latched on to fellow substitute Matty Taylor's ball, but saw his shot go millimetres wide of the post.

Parkinson said he was pleased with his team's start to the season.

He added: "We took two points from 11 games at the start of the last season and we now have four from our first two.

"We did some good things in the first-half, but we were a bit passive and let them dictate.

"We took the game to them in the second-half and increased our intensity level.

"With their goals, the first one was offside and David Wheater was pole axed in the middle of the pitch in the run up to the second one, so we could have done with a little help from the officials."

City assistant manager Dean Holden said the team was disappointed not to have claimed the three points.

He explained: "We dominated in the first-half, but we were too slow and safe.

"Apart from the five minutes in the second-half when Bolton scored their goals, we dominated then, as well.

"The lads are disappointed that they didn't win the game, the same as they were last week, but Bolton is a tough place to come."

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick; Olkowski, Wheater, Beevers, Taylor; Lowe, Murphy (O'Neil, 65), Vela; Buckley (Wildschut, 74), Noon (Le Fondre, 79); Magennis.
Substitutes not used: Williams, Little, Hobbs and Oztumer.

Bristol City: Maenpaa; Hunt, Webster, Baker, Kelly; Pack, Brownhill, Paterson; Weimann (Taylor, 86), O'Dowda (Watkins, 65); Eliasson (Eisa, 90).
Substitutes not used: O'Leary, Pisano, Walsh and Smith.

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