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Bolton 2-2 Stockport | Gutsy County come from behind to deny Bolton FA Cup win

Stockport County of the National League will be in the hat for the Second Round draw of the FA Cup, after holding League One Bolton Wanderers to a 2-2 draw, meaning they have lost just one of their last six visits away to the Whites - a record stretching back until 1992. 

By Amos Murphy

Entertainment as County cause Bolton problems

An entertaining first 45 minutes was met with a dogged and determined Stockport performance in the second half, as Dave Challinor's reign as County boss began with a bang - quite literally.

Amongst the pyrotechnics from the away end, Scott Quigley fired the away side in front after 22 minutes, before Eoin Doyle and Elias Kachunga struck twice in three minutes to put Bolton ahead.

Not intent on letting the League One side come out on top, Stockport struck back on the stroke of half-time, equalising through Ben Whitfield in added-time of the first period.

Hatters stun Wanderers with fast start

As four-time winners of the FA Cup, Bolton’s affinity with the competition is greater than most sides, yet it was the visiting supporters who welcomed the teams out with a real sense of occasion.

Over 5,000 Stockport fans made the trip around the M60 and up the M61 for one of the club’s biggest games in recent memory, and they had a goal to celebrate midway through the first period.

Bullish play from Quigley saw him bearing down on goal, where the forward slotted underneath an on-rushing Dixon to give the visitors a famous lead.

Cue delirium in the away end, as the previously hopeful County supporters now had something to hold on to.

Bolton bounce back with a touch of class

If the majority of the home support inside the University of Bolton stadium had been subdued for most of the opening stages, the County opener almost silenced three-quarters of the ground, yet they would soon find their voice as the hosts hit-back in fine fashion.

Keeping a League One attack quiet for over an hour was always going to prove a difficult task for the Stockport defence, and it was that little bit of quality that opened up a compact backline.

Dapo Afolayan’s piercing through ball cut open the Hatters’ midfield, before a Kachunga back-post cross found the ever-reliable Doyle to tap home from close range.

Fiery end to half with plenty of spark

No sooner were Bolton level had they found themselves in front. This time Kachunga was the man to score the goal, finishing first-time off a rebounded shot.

It had looked as if the League One side were beginning to find their rhythm prior to the flurry of goals, controlling possession and pushing the Stockport defenders back towards their own goal.

However, in similar fashion to their hosts, County came out of their shell after going behind and struck back in added time of the first half.

Quigley once again provided problems for the Bolton backline, combining well with Paddy Madden, who slipped through Ben Whitfield for the leveller.

There had been a suspicion of offside from the 25-year-old midfielder, but he was able to evade the attention of both the Bolton defenders and the assistant's flag to restore parity at the break.

Wanderers waste number of chances early in second period

Much like they had been doing towards the end of the first half, Bolton emerged from the break on the front foot and threatened the County goal on a number of occasions.

Afolayan attempted to curl a first-time effort around the post, but his shot was well wide, whilst Ethan Ross was required to pull off a sharp stop down to his left-hand side following a Doyle header.

Doyle would once again come close midway through the half, this time receiving the ball with his back to goal, before bending a right-footed shot from the edge of the box just wide.

Match Information:

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon; John, Williams, Almeida Santos, Doyle, Afolayan, Lee, Isgrove, Kachunga, Thomason, Baptiste

Stockport County: Ross; Minihan, Hogan, Palmer, Kitching, Rooney, Madden, Whitfield, Croasdale, Quigley, Crankshaw

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