English Premiership

Bolton held at Sunderland

2012-04-28 18:23
Bolton logo (File)

Sunderland - Two goals from Kevin Davies earned Bolton a vital point in a 2-2 English Premiership draw at Sunderland, but it wasn't enough to help them climb out of the bottom three.

Recalled to the starting line-up, Davies took his tally to seven for the season with goals in each half as Owen Coyle's side came from behind to earn a valuable share of the spoils, extending their mini unbeaten run to three games.

It sees them remain third-bottom, level on points with QPR, after Davies beat his marker Matthew Kilgallon to head home a Sam Ricketts cross from close range with 20 minutes left of an open encounter played out before a 40 000 Stadium of Light crowd.

James McClean looked to have sealed only Sunderland's third win in 12 games with a memorable long-range free-kick after a clumsy foul by Davies on Stephane Sessegnon just after the interval.

But after opening the scoring midway through the first-half, Davies hauled Bolton level late on to snap a five-game losing streak against the Wearside club, in the process making it five points from the last nine in their efforts to beat the drop.

Wigan's thumping victory over Newcastle however means Wanderers' 11-year stay in the top flight remains under threat with just three games left to climb out of danger, starting with the visit by Champions League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur on May 2.

Davies showed why Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill tabled a failed bid for his services in January with a calm finish to break the deadlock on 25 minutes.

But Sunderland were soon on level terms with Nicklas Bendtner claiming their first goal on home soil since March 24 to boost the bid to seal back-to-back top 10 finishes.

In a first-half short on excitement and chances, Nigel Reo-Coker burst through from halfway past three challengers to fire narrowly wide from 20 yards past Craig Gordon.

The injury-plagued Sunderland keeper made his first start for more than 14 months, and was called into action soon after to save a low long-distance effort from midfielder Mark Davies as Bolton made the early running.

They were rewarded when Davies deservedly put them ahead midway through the half.

Influential midfielder Martin Petrov used all his know-how to find a way past Jack Colback down Bolton's left, sending over an inviting cross which skipper Davies, lurking at the far post, needed no second invitation to confidently volley past Gordon from six yards.

In front of the club's billionaire owner Ellis Short, Sunderland - who host title-chasing Manchester United in their final home game on May 13 - almost immediately drew level as Kilgallon's glancing header flew inches wide from McClean's free-kick.

Sunderland weren't behind for long and levelled nine minutes before the break courtesy of an eighth goal of the season from Bendtner, the forward on loan from Arsenal, who ended Sunderland's seven-hour goal drought.

The equaliser owed much to the tenacity of Colback, who atoned for his role in Bolton's opener by engineering space 30 yards from goal to thread an inch-perfect pass through to meet the run of Bendtner.

The Denmark international easily beat Adam Bogdan with a low finish from 12 yards into the bottom corner to make it 13 games since the visitors last kept a clean sheet.

Sunderland took the lead 10 minutes with a McClean free-kick before Davies levelled with a back post header on 70 minutes.

Read more on:    sunderland  |  bolton  |  english premiership  |  soccer


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