Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Bristol Rovers
Attendance: 13,383 (843 away)
An early Josh Vela goal gave Bolton the advantage in the fixture at the Macron Stadium, but a spirited display from Rovers was topped off by a well-taken equalising goal from substitute Byron Moore to earn Rovers a point to finish the month of February unbeaten.
Heading into the game Rovers boss Darrell Clarke made three changes to the side that played out a 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe on Saturday, with Ellis Harrison, James Clarke and Cristian Montano all coming into the starting eleven.
The hosts, who had won their last two games at home heading into the match, handed a debut to defender Reece Wabara, with experienced striker Adam Le Fondre named on the bench.
Bolton managed to take an early lead in the game, whenChris Long diverted a cross deep into the Rovers area that was controlled by Filipe Morais at the far post. With Rovers rushing to block Morais' path on goal, the midfielder squared a pass across the face of goal that was turned in by Josh Vela for the simplest of close-range finishes.
Rovers responded by working a number of threatening deliveries into the Bolton box but were unable to make connection in the final third to test Bolton 'keeper Mark Howard. Ellis Harrison created a great chance for himself when he robbed possession off Mark Howard on the touchline and advanced towards the unattended goal, but the striker rolled his side-footed attempt agonisingly wide from a narrow-angle.
Shortly after Harrison's attempt, Rovers had an appeal for a penalty declined when a shot from inside the area from Stuart Sinclair looked to have struck the outstretched arm of Andrew Taylor, but the referee was quick to dismiss away appeals for a penalty from the Rovers players.
After enjoying a good spell of possession inside the Bolton half, the hosts almost doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark, when a quick breakaway saw the ball break to Chris Long on the fringes of the Rovers penalty box, but the striker could only direct his right-footed effort into the side-netting, with James Clarke putting the striker under pressure and closing the angle on goal.
Just ten minutes before the break Rovers were forced into making a change when Ellis Harrison found himself on the receiving end of a hefty challenge from David Wheater, with the striker unable to continue following the collision, with Luke James introduced as his replacement.
Seconds after the restart Luke James found himself in a threatening position, as the striker reacted the quickest to a deflected ball forward and turned well inside the Bolton area before directing a shot across the face of goal.
Rovers continued to pose an attacking threat and had a great chance to level the game when a well-worked diagonal ball pierced the Bolton defence, with Cristian Montano touching the delivery towards goal and the winger's effort was pushed away into the path of Luke James who fired an effort goalwards that was deflected off the line by Wheater.
Bolton saw a set-piece from James Henry fly narrowly over the crossbar from twenty-yards out, which was a rare attempt of the second half for the hosts.
With fifteen minutes left in the game Rovers managed to level the scores, when a delightful through ball from Billy Bodin cut open the Bolton defence and substitute Byron Moore was able to run onto the pass and provide a delicate finish to slot the ball past the advancing Mark Howard and to nestle his finish into the bottom corner of the net.
Rovers created an opportunity to take all three points late on, when a dangerous delivery from the right was touched onto the post by Tom Lockyer, with the ball rebounding across the goalline before being rushed clear by the Bolton defence.
In the dying moments of the game the hosts were reduced to ten men, when Chris Long picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, as the game ended with the scores level at 1-1.
Next up for Rovers is the short trip to Oxford United this coming Saturday in SkyBet League One.
Bolton Wanderers: Mark Howard (G), Mark Beevers, Josh Vela, Jay Spearing (C) (45' Liam Trotter), Chris Long, Derik Osede, Andrew Taylor, Filipe Morais, James Henry (80' Adam Le Fondre), Reece Wabara (70' Viv Solomon-Otabor).
Substitutes: Ben Alnwick (G), Dean Moxey, Dorian Dervite, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Liam Trotter, Conor Wilkinson, Adam Le Fondre
Rovers: Joe Lumley (G), Daniel Leadbitter, Tom Lockyer (C), Ryan Sweeney, James Clarke, Cristian Montano (71' Byron Moore), Stuart Sinclair, Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke, Billy Bodin, Ellis Harrison (36' Luke James).
Substitutes: Steve Mildenhall (G), Jonny Burn, Lee Mansell, Byron Moore, Luke James, Robert Harris, Rory Gaffney.