Bolton summoned the resilience of old in this marvellously determined display to earn a point against the unbeaten Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich in this Uefa Cup Group F tie last night.
Without Nicolas Anelka, El Hadji Diouf and Ivan Campo, Gary Megson's new team were expected to be overwhelmed by Bayern Munich. Instead Bolton claimed a point by displaying the kind of work ethic that was their hallmark under former manager Sam Allardyce.
Kevin Davies secured the draw with his first goal of the season with eight minutes remaining to stun the home crowd. Two goals from Lukas Podolski had put Bayern in the driving seat after Ricardo Gardner had made an early breakthrough for the visitors.
Megson, whose appointment was far from popular among Bolton followers, will take a number of positives from this performance, not least Ali Al Habsi's display. The Oman goalkeeper, in only his second game for the club, made a string of excellent saves.
"It was very encouraging," said Megson of his new charges' performance, "but I've been hugely encouraged since day one, with the application. You've seen it tonight – they've stuck at it. We got away with it once or twice, but it was good."
Bolton were quick to display their resolute attitude after taking the lead in the eighth minute following a long throw from Kevin Nolan. Danny Guthrie chipped the ball forward and it eventually broke to Gardner. The Jamaican's effort went in off the crossbar after taking a deflection. It was his first goal since the victory against Newcastle on Boxing Day 2002.
Bayern, however, should have equalised in the 18th minute when Andreas Otti found himself in a threatening position in front of goal. However, he spooned his effort over the bar.
Davies should have extended Bolton's lead in the 29th minute when he latched on to a clever through ball from Gavin McCann and turned Lucio but he sent his effort narrowly wide of the post.
Bayern drew level a minute later with a stunning goal, Podolski driving a shot into the corner after Franck Ribéry had pulled the ball back.
Bolton's main concern at this stage of the game was trying to keep Ribéry quiet. Quick and clever, the Frenchman tested Al Habsi in the 37th minute with a low drive to which the goalkeeper reacted quickly.
Al Habsi then did well to block a shot from Mark van Bommell after it took a deflection in the 42nd minute.
Bolton's goalkeeper was being forced to work overtime and a minute later made a superb block from Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The visitors went close early in the second half when Nolan cut inside after 48 minutes only to see his effort go narrowly over the top but Bayern's response was instant and emphatic. They took the lead a minute later when Ribéry cut the ball back and Podolski scored his second goal of the game from close range.
It was another clinical finish and Bolton were being stretched at the back, such was the pace of the Bayern attack.
Al Habsi produced a stunning save in the 60th minute by turning over Ribéry's close range effort. Al Habsi then needed treatment after turning a shot from Schweinsteiger over the crossba,r with Bayern threatening to overwhelm their opponents at this stage, though Bolton will have been relieved to see Ribéry withdrawn when replaced by Toni Kroos after an hour.
And they drew level through Davies after excellent work from Nolan. The club captain hooked the ball over Lucio and Christian Lell to find Davies at the back post and he drilled a shot past Kahn to secure a memorable draw.
"We keep drawing games," smiled Megson. "We had 12 players missing tonight against a club of this stature, and this was terrific."
The point also leaves Bolton excellently placed to progress from Group F to the Uefa Cup's knockout stages. Certainly, this result was no more than they deserved for the spirit they showed, and the players got a standing ovation from their 4,000 travelling supporters when they came out for their warmdown.
Bayern Munich (4-4-2): Kahn; Jansen, Lucio, Van Buyten, Lell; Ribéry (Kroos, 60), Ottl, Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger (Altintop, 73); Podolski (Toni, 57), Klose. Substitutes not used: Rensing, Ze Roberto, Schlaudraff, Sosa.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Al Habsi; A O'Brien, Cid, Michalik, Gardner; Alonso (Giannakopoulos, 56), Nolan, Guthrie, McCann; Braaten (Teymourian, 77), Davies. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Speed, Harsanyi, Sinclair, Sissons.
Referee: J Jara (Czech Republic).Reuse content