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Match Reports

Bolton 3-2 Forest

6 May 2018

There was plenty of final-day drama at the Macron Stadium as Nottingham Forest lost 3-2 against Bolton Wanderers.

Goals from Ben Osborn and Jack Colback looked like consigning The Trotters to relegation but late strikes by David Wheater and Aaron Wilbraham meant that Bolton preserved their Championship status.

Adam Le Fondre had given Bolton a 67th-minute lead to kickstart the drama but Forest ended the 2017-18 season with a loss in an enthralling game.

There was an intense atmosphere inside the Macron Stadium as the home side went in search of the win needed to secure their Championship status. The first opening of the game arrived for Forest on the ninth minute as Lee Tomlin's superb raking pass found Osborn down the left, but his low cross lacked the finishing touch from the arriving Ben Brereton.

Shortly after that chance, The Reds were indebted to some brilliant goalkeeping by Stefanos Kapino to deny Wheater's point-blank header and on 23 minutes Bolton were inches away from taking the lead as Filipe Morais's shot from 12 yards fizzed just wide.

The home side came even closer just after the half-hour mark though as Wilbraham's header cannoned back off the post before he then saw an goal chalked off for offside after Kapino parried Morais's initial effort.

The chances continued to come in an open affair as Forest hit back with two opportunities of their own, both falling to Joe Lolley. The winger drove at the heart of the Bolton defence before shooting at goal, with his shot deflecting onto the crossbar with Ben Alnwick beaten. Moments later and Lolley was there to meet Darikwa's cross from the right but could only divert his header over the bar when it looked easier to score.

It could easily have been a high-scoring match but the two sides went in goalless at the break, with tension running high in the stands as the Bolton fans desperately tried to encourage their side on.

Kapino made a smart double save just after the hour before Mark Little fired wide as the Forest defence stood firm to keep their opponents at bay. Wilbraham saw another chance go begging as he headed over the bar from close range before the breakthrough came on 67 minutes thanks to substitute Le Fondre.

The forward was quickest to react to Karl Henry's blocked shot and instinctively fired the loose ball first time into the top corner to give Kapino no chance and send the Bolton fans wild.

But the euphoria soon turned to despair as The Reds hit back immediately with a superb strike from Osborn. The Player of the Season picked up a pass from Lolley and drove towards goal before unleashing a fine low effort which arrowed into the bottom corner of the net.

And on 79 minutes Forest had a second goal which looked like being the nail in Bolton's coffin, as some superb work by Lolley saw him win the ball in the corner and wriggle his way along the byline before pulling it back for Colback who lashed home a superb volley for his first goal in the Garibaldi.

But the drama wasn't to finish there as Bolton threw everything at the Forest defence. The Trotters levelled on 87 minutes as centre back Wheater, thrown forward in an attempt to salvage a result, tucked home in the area like a seasoned striker before Wilbraham finally hit the back of the net with a fine low header from a right-wing delivery to cause pandemonium amongst the home supporters.

Forest: Kapino, Darikwa, Hobbs, Fox, Osborn, Watson (c) (Guedioura 76'), Colback, Bridcutt (Vellios 76'), Lolley, Tomlin (Cash 61'), Brereton

Unused subs: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne, Bouchalakis

Goals: Osborn 70', Colback 79'

Bookings: Bridcutt 7', Fox 39', Lolley 57', Darikwa 82'

Bolton: Alnwick (Howard 46'), Little, Wheater, Beevers, Robinson, Ameobi, Henry, Pratley (c) (Le Fondre 59'), Morais (Noone 76'), Vela, Wilbraham

Unused subs: Taylor, Karacan, Buckley, Burke

Goals: Le Fondre 67', Wheater 86', Wilbraham 88'

Bookings: Pratley 13', Robinson 45'

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 18,289 (2,124 away)

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