Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
John McDougall

Toal impresses, Charles goal, injuries - Four ups & two downs for Bolton from Bristol Rovers draw

Bolton Wanderers came from behind to claim a point at home with a late Dion Charles strike against Bristol Rovers.

The Gas stunned the hosts inside two minutes when Anthony Evans' low cross was finished off from close range by Josh Coburn as the visitors went in front. It was a lead they preserved at the break, as Dapo Afolayan fired over the bar from distance and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson saw a low shot saved.

After the break, Charles went close to equalising off the bench as he nearly connected with Afolayan's dangerous cross. Charles forced James Belshaw into action after capitalising on James Connolly's error.

READ MORE: Bolton Wanderers player ratings vs Bristol Rovers - MJ Williams, Conor Bradley & Eoin Toal good

The visitors were resilient in defence and kept Wanderers at bay for much of the game. But the hosts deservedly drew level when Charles curled home a beauty from inside a crowded box to ensure the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw.

Here we analyse the ups and downs from a Wanderers perspective, after another dramatic end to a game for the Whites.


Charles off the bench to score

Charles was named on the bench as Evatt opted to take his star striker out of the firing line. But after Bodvarsson could not continue 10 minutes into the second half, the Northern Ireland international was summoned to the fray.

The striker had a couple of chances to get Wanderers back on level terms after his introduction. He almost made contact with an Afolayan cross before forcing the Rovers goalkeeper into action.

But when the chance came in stoppage time, it was one Charles took and was clincial to curl home in a crowded box and give his team a point and himself a confidence boost that goals give strikers. Hopefully it sparks him off to score more in games to come.

Williams makes impact

MJ Williams has been on the bench in recent matches, as well as serving a one match suspension after picking up five yellow cards. He was named on the bench against the Gas.

When introduced following the departure of Thomason from the field of play, Williams filled the gap vacated by the youngster. He added energy, calmness in possession and defensive steel with his introduction.

It was an eye-catching display from a player who took his chance to impress from the bench.

Coming from behind again to claim points

As has become a feature this season for Wanderers and especially of late, the Whites came from behind to claim something from an encounter. It is the latest in several recently.

Three points were claimed in each of the clashes against Fleetwood Town, Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley. Nine points were claimed when at certain stages of those games, none were on offer.

Though three points was not taken last night, the point Charles' strike earned the Whites was the least they deserved and could prove to be vital by the end of the campaign.

Toal steps up in Santos absence

In the absence of influential and inspirational captain Ricardo Santos to hospitalisation, Eoin Toal was called upon in the heart of the back three. It was his first League One appearance.

The summer signing from Derry City has made appearances in the Papa Johns Trophy, but this was his first in the bread and butter that is the league. It was an encouraging debut in the competition.

The centre half showed his strength and speed, as well as competence in possession, and seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on. His performance was a big factor in the visitors having so few attempts on goal.


Early conceded goal

The game was little over a minute old when the Gas broke the deadlock to stun the hosts. Evans found himself in space down Bolton's left and slotted a dangerous cross in for Coburn to finish.

Wanderers have a nasty habit of conceding the first goal and doing so early in matches. This one was among the earliest Bolton have conceded this campaign.

The Whites, as they have done on countless occasions this season, came from behind to claim something from an encounter. This occasion proved to be that bit too far to claim all three points.

Injuries to Bodvarsson and Thomason

The encounter cost Wanderers a couple of members of their squad who might have played the full 90 minutes had they not picked up injuries. George Thomason had to be taken off 10 minutes before half-time after hobbling off the pitch.

Thomason needed attention from the Bolton physios before being taken off with what his manager described as a 'worrying' knee injury. Wanderers will learn the extent of it in the days to come.

Striker Bodvarson meanwhile could not continue after being the innocent bystander as James Trafford made a punched clearance. He left the pitch with concussion and a bloody nose.

Don't miss a thing from the club you love! For all the latest updates on Wanderers, sign up to our free newsletter packed with all the latest news here.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.