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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Brighton

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A point was OK, but we should have had all three

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers started positively against Brighton & Hove Albion, with Neil Lennon's changes providing an immediate response.

Francesco Pisano impressed on his full debut for the club, replacing Lawrie Wilson, whilst Max Clayton's return to first-team duties was unexpected but very welcome.

Wanderers, on the attack from the off, managed to test Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale on more than one occasion, with Wellington Silva being our most dangerous outlet by a long way.

The lack of an end product cost Wanderers the win, but all the same it was a positive performance despite the early setbacks of conceding twice in four minutes. Gary Madine led the line for Bolton, given his chance to break this much-discussed duck of his by Lennon - who shorn of options had little choice but to put his faith in the former Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday man.

The returning Max Clayton impressed with some neat touches and typical energy going forward.

It was a strange goal that opened the scoring - Ben Amos flapped at a cross, Wanderers failed to clear and one-time Wanderers target Dale Stephens struck home comfortably from the edge of the box. Wanderers had a mad four minutes, conceding shortly after when Jamie Murphy tapped in from a yard out.

The crowd was stunned into silence, but soon roused by Neil Danns' long-range effort which trickled past Stockdale into the bottom corner. A goal was no less than Bolton deserved, although going in 1-2 down at half time prompted a few grumbles.

The sides came out for the second half in similar moods - Brighton looked to counter attack, though concentrated predominantly on defending - something that their manager Chris Hughton has always been accused of.

The teams swapped chances, with both struggling to make inroads close to goal. Wanderers had lots of possession in their own half and towards halfway, though failed to test Stockdale.

The turning point came when the previously mentioned Murphy was sent off for a terrible lunge on Danns, which prompted Bolton to race forward in search of an equaliser and possibly more.

More or less straight from the red card moment, Gary Madine was presented with the sort of chance that goal-shy strikers dream of - he turned Gordon Greer with the sort of ease that most players do when facing against someone called Gordon, though failed to finish on his left peg.

We streamed forward, with Liam Feeney seeing more of the ball than anyone. His passion for appalling crosses was never more evident - with each going into the welcoming hands of Mr Stockdale.

That all changed, however, in the 90th minute, when a clipped ball found Madine mid-leap, and he plonked the header beyond the falling goalkeeper into the far corner.

It was no more than Bolton deserved, and to be honest it was maybe a bit more than Brighton deserved.

Wanderers were the better team, without doubt, and it was an impressive performance from the men in white.