Dougie Freedman will spearhead Bolton Wanderers in their bid to make an instant return to the Premier League after it was confirmed last night that the 38-year-old Scot had left Crystal Palace to succeed Owen Coyle at the Reebok Stadium.
Palace had initially turned down Bolton's request to speak to Freedman but relented after accepting a compensation package. Freedman's three-year contract is believed to be worth almost three times his Palace salary.
Freedman did not make an appearance at Molineux, where Kevin Doyle's first-half double overcame Benik Afobe's goal for Bolton as Wolves attempted to stretch their run of form under Stale Solbakken to six wins in their last eight Championship matches. But former Wolves midfielder Mark Davies grabbed an equaliser for the Lancashire side in the 90th minute.
Freedman's first match in charge is at Middlesbrough on Saturday, and he leaves a side in a promotion-challenging position for one in the bottom half of the table after only four wins.
Caretaker manager Jimmy Phillips went with the same line-up that had hit back to beat Bristol City last weekend in his bid to sign off with two wins while in charge. And everything seemed to be going to plan when Benik Afobe, the 19-year-old striker on loan from Arsenal, scored his first Championship goal, poking in Martin Petrov's corner after 20 minutes.
But two goals in as many minutes from Doyle turned the match around in Wolves' favour. French midfielder Sako provided the creative input for both, supplying the through ball for Doyle to run on to and drill into the opposite corner of Adam Bogdan's net, then bending a free kick that the 'keeper did well to keep out but in doing so teed the ball up nicely for Doyle to head beyond him into the net.
Otherwise it had been a decent performance by the side Freedman will inherit, with Petrov and Chris Eagles testing the home defence with their runs ahead of a midfield in which Jay Spearing and Mark Davies worked hard in the centre.
Indeed, Bolton looked capable of another fightback as they pushed Wolves back in the second half. Petrov and Eagles both drew saves from goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who then blocked shots by Petrov and Spearing before Davies fired home a deserved equaliser in the last minute of normal time.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Ikeme; Foley, Johnson, Berra, Ward; Pennant (Edwards 67), Henry, Doumbia, Sako; Doyle, Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 62). Substitutes not used: Stearman, Batth, Davis, Forde, McCarey (gk).
Bolton Wanderers (4-3-3): Bogdan; Mears, Mills, Ream, Warnock (Andrews 89); M Davies, Spearing, Petrov; K Davies, Eagles, Afobe (Ngog h/t). Subs titutes not used: Lynch (gk), Andrews, Ricketts, Pratley, Riley, Lee.
Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire)Reuse content