Bolton relegated after being held to a draw at the Britannia

Stoke 2 Bolton 2

Bolton's 11-year stay in the Premier League came to an end at the Britannia Stadium after they could only manage a draw with Stoke.

Potters striker Jon Walters equalised from the penalty spot 13 minutes from time, and Bolton's agony was only deepened by the knowledge Manchester City's dramatic late victory over QPR meant a win here would have been enough.

It looked like things were going Bolton's way at the end of the first half when Mark Davies and Kevin Davies both scored fortuitous goals after Walters had given Stoke the lead in controversial circumstances, but it was not to be.

Stoke's record on the final day of the season since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008 read played three, lost three, including the 1-0 defeat 12 months ago that helped Wigan stay up, but they began with purpose today.

Bolton looked nervy at the back, and in the sixth minute Ricardo Fuller, who could be playing his last game for the Potters, twisted and turned on the edge of the penalty area before firing in a shot that Adam Bogdan pushed round his near post.

Peter Crouch then fired wide from a tight angle while Matthew Etherington had a shot saved by Bogdan, and the Hungarian keeper was at the centre of the drama when Stoke opened the scoring in highly controversial fashion in the 13th minute.

Etherington crossed for Walters, who appeared to have taken too heavy a touch in front of goal, but the striker then headed the ball into the net seemingly out of Bogdan's hands and referee Chris Foy awarded the goal.

Stoke were causing Bolton all sorts of problems and Walters might have made it two when he turned neatly on the penalty spot but he curled his shot wide of the post.

The visitors had offered little going forward but they came within inches of scoring twice in the 32nd minute, first when Kevin Davies hit the bar with a looping header before Ivan Klasnic followed up with a sweet volley that Thomas Sorensen somehow tipped round the post.

Bolton's frustration showed when Sam Ricketts lunged into a tackle on Dean Whitehead, the full-back perhaps slightly fortunate only to be given a yellow card.

But that was nothing compared to the lucky break Bolton enjoyed in the 40th minute to provide them with a priceless equaliser.

A long ball from Bogdan was not well dealt with and Klasnic played in Mark Davies. The ball looked to have got away from the midfielder but Robert Huth smashed his attempted clearance against Davies' legs and it flew into the net.

It was reminiscent of the own goal West Brom scored that gave Bolton the lead last week, and remarkably five minutes later they were ahead, again in unusual circumstances.

Kevin Davies mis-hit his cross from the right but Sorensen was badly caught out and could only help the ball into the net at his near post.

Bolton's defensive frailties surfaced again at the start of the second half as three Stoke defenders found themselves free at the far post when Etherington curled in a free-kick, but Ryan Shawcross got his header all wrong.

Martin Petrov then came within inches of giving Bolton breathing space when he was played in by Mark Davies, the winger's shot beating Sorensen but drifting just past the post.

Ricardo Fuller was given a standing ovation as he was replaced by Cameron Jerome, who was into the action straight away as he wriggled free in the area before seeing his shot superbly blocked by Tim Ream.

Stoke were certainly not giving up and Etherington was the next player to come close to an equaliser but he was stretching as he shot and could not keep his effort down.

News from the Etihad Stadium, where QPR led City, had understandably subdued the Bolton fans, and events on the pitch had also gone somewhat quiet, although Petrov sent a 30-yard free-kick just wide.

But Bolton's hopes suffered another huge blow in the 77th minute when their side conceded a penalty, Bogdan felling Peter Crouch having initially done brilliantly to save the England man's shot, and Walters made no mistake from the spot.

Two substitutes combined for Bolton as Marvin Sordell crossed for Lee Chung-yong but he sliced his volley behind, while the Trotters were then saved by an offside flag at the other end when Crouch's effort was turned in by Jerome.

Bolton piled forward in a desperate attempt to find another goal, and Ream came close with a header from Petrov's corner that was gratefully grasped by Sorensen, but in the end there was no way back.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat