Craig Davies fires Bolton into the top six with win­ner at Bris­tol City

BRIS­TOL CITY ..1 BOLTON ..........2

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Richard Latham

DOUGIE Freed­man had no doubts about the con­tro­ver­sial late penalty that main­tained Bolton’s play-off charge.

Ref­eree Mark Hay­wood looked set to wave play on when Matthew Bates tan­gled with Wan­der­ers striker David Ngog on the edge of the six­yard box 12 min­utes from time.

But he then spot­ted his as­sis­tant ref­eree’s flag and af­ter a brief con­sul­ta­tion pointed to the spot.

Sub­sti­tute Craig Davies blasted the penalty past Tom Heaton and City were pushed to the very brink of rel­e­ga­tion.

Freed­man said:“I've seen the penalty in­ci­dent again on film and there was def­i­nitely a foul on David Ngog. The lines­man did well to spot it and I thought the of­fi­cials as a whole had a good game.

“We met a Bris­tol City side fight­ing for their lives and work­ing very hard for each other. It was never go­ing to be easy.

“You need dif­fer­ent tools to be a suc­cess­ful team and we showed our bat­tling qual­i­ties. The race for play-off places is wide open and I see no rea­son why Bolton Wan­der­ers should not be in the top six come the end of the sea­son.

“We are reap­ing the re­ward of hard work put in months ago. When other peo­ple were open­ing presents on Christ­mas Day we were train­ing.”

It’s eight wins from their last ten games for Wan­der­ers, who have hit the top six at just the right time.

They were given a sec­ond minute boost when Dar­ren Prat­ley’s cross from the left was al­lowed to pass across the six­yard box and Liam Fon­taine de­flected it into his own goal.

While they may be doomed to League One foot­ball next sea­son, City were in no mood to sur­ren­der and equalised four min­utes af­ter the break when the un­marked Steve Davies headed his 13th goal of the sea­son from an Al­bert Adomah cross.

But there was no way back af­ter Bates, who re­placed Fon­taine at the break, brought down Ngog and all the ef­forts of ex­cit­ing Ghana in­ter­na­tional Adomah went to waste.

City boss Sean O'Driscoll said: “Our per­for­mance had ev­ery­thing I would want apart from enough goals to win the game. The play­ers are show­ing great spirit in dif­fi­cult times.

“I was dis­ap­pointed we didn’t a

get penalty for hand­ball late in the game, but that’s the way it goes. We have a big sum­mer ahead with a num­ber of con­tracts up, but I can’t ask more in terms of ef­fort than the play­ers showed out there.

“The fans have stuck with us, but we have known for a while that a change of strat­egy was nec­es­sary at the club.

“We are no longer go­ing to throw mil­lions of pounds at try­ing to buy success. While that is un­der­stand­able, it hasn’t worked and our re­cruit­ment pol­icy must cen­tre on younger play­ers.”

Bolton kept their lead un­til the in­ter­val, de­spite City cre­at­ing the bet­ter chances.

Stephen Pear­son fired wildly over when he should have lev­elled for the hosts on 21 min­utes.

Davies also squan­dered a great op­por­tu­nity from Sam Bal­dock’s 41st minute cross, al­low­ing goal­keeper Adam Bogdan to smother his close range shot.

The pat­tern con­tin­ued in the sec­ond half with Zat Knight and Craig Daw­son out­stand­ing at the heart of an over­woked Bolton de­fence..

Both sides had to make first half changes through in­jury as Paul An­der­son re­placed Pear­son for City and Medo went on in place of Jay Spear­ing for the vis­i­tors.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

COOL HEAD: Craig Davies scores the sec­ond goal for Bolton from the penalty spot

LAST CHANCE: Keeper Tom Heaton goes for­ward for City

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