Bolton 2 Leeds United 2: Evergreen Davies rescues point for under-fire boss Coyle
21:21 GMT, 2 October 2012
22:33 GMT, 2 October 2012
The welcomed back a cult figure but, in the end, they were indebted to an old hero.
Bolton fans may have enjoyed seeing El Hadji Diouf return on Tuesday night but, ultimately, they were more grateful for Kevin Davies.
Having spent four years with Bolton, the controversial Senegal forward was made Leeds captain for the trip to the Reebok and, for much of a frantic game, it looked an inspired choice as he created one goal for Sam Byram and started the move that ended with Luciano Becchio converting a penalty.
Main man: Kevin Davies scored twice to earn Bolton a draw against Leeds
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Knight, Warnock, Mark Davies, Andrews, Spearing (Petrov 62), Eagles, Kevin Davies, Afobe (Sordell 72).
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Ream, Ricketts, Pratley, Lee.
Booked: Kevin Davies, Spearing.
Goals: Kevin Davies 14, 79.
Leeds: Kenny, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, Drury, Byram, Austin, Brown, Tonge,
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Varney, White, Norris, Gray, Thompson, Poleon.
Booked: Peltier, Brown.
Goals: Byram 44, Becchio 50 pen.
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
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Much to Owen Coyle’s relief, though,
Davies came up trumps when it mattered, scoring two trademark headers to
secure a 2-2 draw to alleviate the pressure that has been building on
his manager. Davies may now be 34 but age is not diminishing his
‘The skipper epitomised everything about this football club,’ said Coyle.
‘We are disappointed not to take all three points but there was a lot to be positive about. If we keep working hard, we will come through the other side smiling. We just need to keep banging on that door.’
Had the game ended with Diouf inspiring a win, Coyle would have banging his head against a brick wall. He lamented two penalty decisions – one which was not awarded to his side, the other which was given to Leeds – but, more than anything, was left cursing Bolton’s inability to kill off opponents.
‘The level of our play at times was outstanding, probably the best it has been all season,’ said Coyle.
Leveller: Davies heads home his and Bolton's second against Leeds
Early on it was difficult to argue with the Scot. Bolton outplayed Leeds in the opening stages and quickly made their mark. Chris Eagles was the first to test Paddy Kenny with a shot that was beaten away after 12 minutes but they didn’t have long to wait to poke their noses in front.
In keeping with the way he had started, Eagles was the provider. His wicked corner on 14 minutes picked out Bolton’s club captain in the six yard box and the former England international made no mistake when flashing a header past Kenny.
Leeds found trouble containing the home side and Bolton could easily have been double their advantage in the moments that followed as first Keith Andrews tested Kenny before Eagles smashed a searing drive off the right-hand post from 20 yards.
In front: Leeds looked to be on course for three points until Davies struck
Bolton, though, lost their rhythm as the contest became tetchy and attritional with referee Phil Dowd regularly blowing regularly for fouls; the last one he awarded before the break had huge ramifications as Diouf’s set piece was converted by Byram.
That gave Leeds all the impetus they needed and their fine start to the second period was rewarded when Becchio coolly dispatched a penalty after Bolton defender Stephen Warnock had tugged down Byram.
It was the fourth consecutive spot kick Coyle’s team had conceded but, fortunately for him, Davies came good at the death to bullet in a header from substitute Martin Petrov’s corner.
‘’It’s not often you come to Bolton and feel disappointed with a draw,’ said Warnock. ‘It was probably my fault we conceded. I told Rodolph Austin to mark Kevin Davies. He was the wrong man to do it.’