Bolton 3 Bristol City 2: Late Petrov winner completes stunning Trotters comeback
16:32 GMT, 20 October 2012
Bolton recovered from a woeful start to claim a morale-boosting victory over Bristol City in their first game since Owen Coyle's departure.
Under the caretaker management of Jimmy Phillips, a revitalised Wanderers outfit showed admirable character following Steven Davies' early brace at the Reebok Stadium.
Davies, on only his second start for the Robins, followed up a superb third-minute volley by dispatching a disputed penalty, but goals either side of half-time from Chris Eagles and Jay Spearing levelled things up.
Comeback kings: Bolton had been 2-0 down in the opening minutes
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Ream, Warnock, Eagles, Mark Davies, Spearing, Petrov (Pratley 90), Kevin Davies, Afobe (Lee 80).
Subs Not Used: Lynch, Andrews, Ngog, Ricketts, Riley.
Goals: Eagles 31, Spearing 62, Petrov 82.
Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Louis Carey, McManus, Fontaine, Adomah, Skuse, Pearson, Woolford (Pitman 85), Baldock, Davies (Taylor 63).
Subs Not Used: Gerken, Mark Wilson, Bryan, Anderson, Morris.
Booked: McManus, Skuse, Louis Carey.
Goals: Davies 3,21 pen.
Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire).
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Several chances went begging for
Bolton either side of Spearing's equaliser, yet there was still time for
Martin Petrov to pop up with a deserved winner in the 82nd minute.
Petrov, Tim Ream and Benik Afobe
gained recalls as Phillips made three changes to the Bolton side
defeated at Millwall in the final game of Coyle's reign.
Experienced centre-half Stephen
McManus was handed a second debut by City after returning on loan from
Middlesbrough, while Martyn Woolford and Davies came in for Jody Morris
and Ryan Taylor.
It took Davies little time to make an
impact. A short corner routine resulted in Stephen Pearson swinging over
a cross from the left and the former Tranmere and Derby forward
connected with a acrobatic left-footed volley that gave Adam Bogdan no
With their next meaningful attack, the
Robins earned a penalty – much to the fury of the home support – when
Woolford, running from left to right across the area, tumbled under a
challenge from Ream.
Head over heels: Bolton's Chris Eagles is challenged by Cole Skuse
Davies stepped up and confidently found the bottom-right corner from 12 yards as Bogdan went the wrong way.
Wanderers skipper Kevin Davies did his
best to inspire an immediate comeback; the veteran saw a half-hearted
appeal for a spot-kick turned down and also fired over on the turn.
Yet it was Eagles who pulled one back
in the 31st minute, drilling a powerful free-kick under the wall to
register his sixth goal of the season after he had been felled on the
edge of the box.
The hosts continued to improve
thereafter, but survived another penalty claim when Sam Baldock's cross
appeared to strike Ream on the arm.
Bolton upped the tempo once more at
the start of the second half and Mark Davies fired wide from 15 yards
before Petrov and Spearing brought routine saves from Tom Heaton.
With the visitors coming under increasing pressure, Heaton reacted sharply to deny Afobe from close range.
City's goalkeeper was powerless, however, when Spearing latched on to a neat through-ball from Kevin Davies and finished coolly.
The provider of Bolton's equaliser
almost prodded his side into the lead moments later, and Heaton
continued to be kept busy as the whistle approached.
Ultimately, it was to be Petrov who
had the final say. The Bulgarian opened up his body to find the far
corner after being played in down the right by good link-up play from
Eagles and substitute Lee Chung-yong.