Bolton rally too late to avoid boos in draw with Stoke
BOLTON (AFP) - Matt Taylor's late penalty salvaged a point for Bolton but a 1-1 draw with Stoke was secured too late for Gary Megson's side to be spared the jeers of their own supporters. Dave Kitson's fine strike looked set to give Stoke all three points before Danny Collins was penalised for a challenge on Sam Ricketts. With less than two minutes left, Taylor coolly slotted home the penalty to claim a point that lifts Bolton above Hull on goal difference and out of the relegation zone. Megson recalled midfield anchor man Gavin McCann at the expense of Mark Davies and left strikers Johan Elmander and Ivan Klasnic on the bench initially. James Beattie was also confined to the bench at the outset because of fitness concerns while Ricardo Fuller and Matthew Etherington were both given starting roles for Stoke. Fuller generated the first chance of the match, breaking clear on the right to deliver a dangerous cross that was cut out by Fabrice Muamba, before getting himself booked for what the referee, Mark Clattenburg, judged to be a dive following a challenge from McCann. Stoke went closest to breaking the deadlock before the interval with Glenn Whelan's 32nd-minute free-kick testing Jussi Jaaskelainen and Rory Delap's long throw-ins unsettling the Bolton defence. The home side was woefully short of invention and the frustration of the home fans was reflected in some angry jeers and slow handclapping. Stoke had a reasonable appeal for a penalty waved away by Clattenburg four minutes into the second period, when a goalbound shot from Delap was blocked by Zat Knight's arm. Taylor then went close for Bolton before Kitson gathered Fuller's through ball and got away from Ricketts before finding the bottom corner with a fine finish. Klasnic's entrance pepped up Bolton's attacking play and the Croatian striker came close to equalising when Thomas Sorensen turned over his close-range effort with just over 20 minutes left. An even better chance fell to Knight but the centreback somehow contrived to clear the bar with his volley. Bolton had done just about enough to merit an equaliser and a clumsy challenge by Collins ensured they got one, although Stoke might easily have snatched a winner in stoppage time but for Jaaskelainen's brave block from substitute Liam Lawrence.
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