Football: Freedman fighter

Bolton 2 (Sheridan 11, McGinlay pen 21) Crystal Palace 2 (Hopkin 39, Freedman 41) Attendance: 16,892
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There was pride as well as points at stake at Burnden Park in this contest between prolific attacks, and Crystal Palace should have finished much the more satisfied. They prevented Bolton from opening a seven-point advantage at the top, their fightback from 2-0 down also restored them as the Nationwide First Division's leading scorers, and they could have been hammered.

Bolton, who suffered a midweek setback at Birmingham, dominated after making a blistering start which saw them go 2-0 up and come within inches of a third goal. John Sheridan, on loan from Sheffield Wednesday as cover for the suspended Alan Thompson, put them ahead after only 11 minutes with his second goal in two games. Palace failed to clear a corner properly and he drove the ball back through the defence to score with the aid of a deflection.

The pressure told on Palace again only nine minutes later when Robert Quinn fouled John McGinlay and the Scottish international picked himself to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

Bolton were rampant and they could have added a third three minutes later. Michael Johansen, one of the Danes Bolton's manager Colin Todd has brought to the North-west to compensate for the loss of Sasa Curcic to Aston Villa, set off on a fine run before feeding a pass to Nathan Blake. The Welsh international's shot struck the far post before rolling across the goalmouth.

Palace are nothing if not determined, and despite their difficulty in getting off the back foot, they were level before half-time with two goals in quick succession against the run of play from David Hopkin, in the 39th minute, and Dougie Freedman, in the 41st. From then on Palace relied on the determined defensive work which has seen them lose only once away from home in the League this season.