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Match Reports

Pompey 3 Bolton 1

Blues battle from behind to secure victory

28 February 2023

Ryley Towler celebrates scoring for Pompey against Bolton Wanderers at Fratton Park
Photo: Jason Brown/Pro Sports Images
Match Reports

Pompey 3 Bolton 1

Blues battle from behind to secure victory

28 February 2023

Pompey continued their fine Fratton form by coming from behind to beat Bolton thanks to three late goals.

They had created chances in an entertaining first half, but were then left trailing to Dion Charles’ close-range finish just after the restart.

Ryley Towler was the unlikely scoring hero, however, opening his account for the club with a brace to turn the game on its head.

A nervy finish might have been in store, but the home faithful could relax when Colby Bishop immediately found the net with an impressive finish.

John Mousinho unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that had secured a thumping victory over Cheltenham at the weekend.

But there was a welcome return for Tom Lowery among the substitutes, with the midfielder having recovered from a long-term hamstring problem.

The first half was a full throttle affair, with both sides looking to charge forward and the action rarely relenting to allow the crowd to draw breath.

It was the hosts who were first to threaten and Gethin Jones made a key interception to stop Ronan Curtis converting a low Owen Dale delivery at the back post.

Connor Ogilvie’s shot from the edge of the box was then blocked and when the ball ran for Curtis, he could only lift it over the bar.

Bolton had openings of their own, although Matt Macey was being well protected by a defence marshalled by the impressive Sean Raggett.

There were plenty of firm – but mostly fair – challenges flying in and referee Stephen Martin was happy to let the game flow.

Wanderers boss Ian Evatt grew increasingly incensed on the sidelines, though, and his constant berating of the fourth official eventually earned a yellow card.

Pompey were still creating the better chances and when Raggett nodded down a Michael Jacobs free-kick, Ryan Tunnicliffe was unable to keep his shot down.

They were then almost handed a goal when James Trafford gave the ball straight to Dale, who tried to work space rather than shooting straight away.

He ended up being left crumpled on the turf by Jones and appealed for a penalty, but had to settle for the award of a corner.

And there was one more opportunity just before the break, with a wide Jacobs free-kick somehow evading everyone as it crept past the post.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Bolton 0

The hosts could perhaps feel frustrated not to have gone in for the interval with a lead to show for their efforts.

But they found themselves behind shortly after the restart, with Charles finally able to force the ball over the line when an Aaron Morley corner led to an almighty scramble.

Pompey struggled to brush off that setback and gave possession straight back to their opponents from a free-kick, with Kyle Dempsey letting them off the hook by blazing over.

They eventually started to move through the gears again, but were finding it tough to get through the defence to test Trafford.

Mousinho decided the time was right for a change on 66 minutes, with Dane Scarlett coming on to replace Jacobs.

The Blues were suddenly applying pressure as the rain poured down and they were eventually rewarded for it.

Dale won a free-kick wide on the right and Joe Rafferty swung in a superb cross that was nodded home by TOWLER at the far post.

And the home side were in no mood to sit back after that, with Ogilvie and Tunnicliffe both sending in dangerous deliveries that were just about dealt with.

Curtis limped off after picking up a knock on 81 minutes, with Joe Pigott brought on as the search continued for a winner.

And Fratton Park soon exploded with joy as Pompey netted twice in quick succession to stun the in-form Wanderers.

They took the lead when Joe Morrell delivered the ball from wide on the left and TOWLER slid in to double his goal tally for the Blues.

Things had barely settled down before Tunnicliffe sent in a corner from the opposite side and BISHOP converted it with a sublime flicked finish.

There were five additional minutes for the Blues to see out, but Macey remained untroubled as Pompey closed the gap on the sides above them in the League One standings.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Macey; Rafferty, Raggett (c), Towler, Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe, Morrell; Dale, Jacobs (Scarlett 66), Curtis (Pigott 81); Bishop
Goals: Towler 73, 84, Bishop 87
Booked: Curtis, Rafferty
Subs not used: Oluwayemi, Bernard, Thompson, Lowery, Lane

Bolton (3-4-1-2): Trafford; Jones, Almeida Santos (c), Toal; Bradley, Lee (Sheehan 86), Morley, John; Dempsey; Charles (Nlundulu 79), Shoretire (Kachunga 72)
Goals: Charles 48
Booked: Santos, Bradley, Lee, Toal
Subs not used: Williams, Mbete, Isgrove, Adeboyejo

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 17,132 (592 away fans)

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