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Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Blackpool: Not enough as Trotters miss out by the tiniest margin

Stu Forster

It was the be-all and end-all match for Bolton Wanderers and the occasion could not have started worse for the men in white. Bolton Wanderers needed either a win or a draw combined with another draw in the Nottingham Forest - Leicester City match in order to make the play-offs.

Dougie Freedman elected to change things up in an attempt to compensate for Craig Dawson's absence by starting Craig Davies alone up top and putting five men in the midfield. Tim Ream slotted into that central defensive slot while Rob Hall was handed his debut on the wing. Chung-Yong Lee took up his familiar spot on the wing and Robert Hall was his counterpart on the other flank with Chris Eagles slotting in directly behind Craig Davies.

Blackpool started the much brighter side with Matty Phillips their main force going forward. It took just two minutes for Phillips to show what he was all about as he cut inside and hit an effort right into Bogdan's side netting. It took 20 minutes for the Tangerines to make the breakthrough and put the hurt on Bolton, through Matt Phillips, of course. The winger beat Zat Knight and a little bit of one-two play saw Phillips get the ball back on the edge of the area before he slammed it home into the top corner.

The Seasiders would double their advantage a quarter of an hour later, this time through Ludovic Sylvestre. The French midfielder found himself in space and Neal Eardley, the fullback breaking forward with the ball, spotted that. Eardley's cross found Sylvestre's foot on the half-volley and the side-footed effort made its way into the back of the net.

Dougie Freedman would do well to admit his mistake and two minutes after the second Blackpool goal, the manager would make a change. The largely ineffective (save for one free kick) Robert Hall made way for Marvin Sordell and that change made all the difference.

The fourth official held the board up for three minutes of added time and that was all Bolton Wanderers would need to get back into the match. Chris Eagles would score the first goal, receiving the ball from Marcos Alonso who cut it back on the edge of the area. The winger intelligently let the ball run across his body before scooping it into the back of the net.

Bolton were not done though and it was Craig Davies that would score again for Bolton in added time. The big striker's effort took an ever bigger deflection and settled in the back of the net past a wrong-footed Matt Gilks. The teams would go into the half all level at two apiece.

The nervy second half would have Bolton Wanderers fans keep a very close eye on the Nottingham Forest - Leicester City match. Another four goal affair in that clash would see it level at 2-2 after 50 minutes. It was tense and it was nervy as the foxes went to three at the back and both teams threw absolutely everything at each other.

Bolton Wanderers would have their chances to take the lead, mainly through Chung-Yong Lee. Early in the half, the Korean winger's effort was somehow cleared off the line with Marvin Sordell also trying his best to get on the end of it but the ball would not budge. Then, with less than five minutes to go, Chris Eagles broke through the Blackpool midfield and found Chung-Yong Lee breaking alongside him. Eagles got the ball to Chungy but the winger's effort, which arguably should have made it 3-2, hit the side netting.

In the 90th minute, Leicester City would score against Nottingham Forest to pull ahead of Bolton Wanderers on goal difference. The men in white would need a goal to make the play-offs.

The match would end 2-2 and Bolton Wanderers would miss the play-offs. No one gave the Trotters a chance three months ago and what an amazing comeback it was in the last three months of the season.