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ABAX Stadium (ATT 6,600) 22nd December 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: N Miller

Peterboro Peterborough United vs Bolton Wanderers Bolton

Peterboro 5

L Tomlin (2)
D Gayle (6)
G Thorne (47)
M Little (69)
G Zakuani (83)

ft

Bolton 4

K Andrews (pen 45+3, pen 56)
B Afobe (85)
M Petrov (87)

Peterborough's flying start decisive as they edge Bolton 5-4 in a nine-goal thriller

Last Updated: 22/12/12 6:14pm

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Lee Tomlin: Set Peterborough on their way

Lee Tomlin: Set Peterborough on their way

Peterborough's flying start proved decisive as they edged Bolton 5-4 in a nine-goal thriller at London Road on Saturday.

Buoyed by their surprise victory over leaders Cardiff last week, Posh raced into a two goal lead inside six minutes thanks to Lee Tomlin and Dwight Gayle.

Wanderers midfielder Keith Andrews reduced the arrears from the penalty spot but George Thorne's drive made it 3-1 shortly after half-time.

Another Andrews spot kick prompted Bolton's most promising period of the match but United defenders Mark Little and Gabriel Zakuani got in on the act to apparently make the points safe.

But there was a final twist as Wanderers substitutes Benik Afobe and Martin Petrov netted inside the final six minutes to set up a grandstand finish.

Victory for Barnsley at Millwall and Bristol City's draw at Ipswich means Darren Ferguson's side remain bottom of the table, while Dougie Freedman's Bolton head into Christmas eight points shy of the play-off places in 16th.

A cross-field ball from George Boyd in the second minute skidded through Bolton centre-back Zat Knight on the greasy surface, allowing Tomlin to race clear before cutting back onto his right foot and planting a low shot past Adam Bogdan.

Wanderers goalkeeper Bogdan made a magnificent reflex save to stop Tomlin doubling his tally moments later but the Hungary international could do nothing when Sam Ricketts failed to clear Tommy Rowe's cross and Gayle thrashed home on the half-volley - his fifth goal in four games.

Boyd passed up the opportunity to add a third, shooting wide at the end of a mazy run, before Bolton were handed a lifeline in first half stoppage time.

Zakuani was penalised for holding down Ricketts when Butterfield delivered a corner from the right and, despite Chris Eagles volleying the loose ball into the net, referee Nigel Miller pointed to the spot and Andrews did the rest.

But haphazard defending undid Bolton at the start of the second half, as it had in the first, and after they failed to clear in the 47th minute Thorne swept home from the edge of the area.

Freedman threw on Marvin Sordell and Afobe shortly afterward to bolster his side's attack and the latter helped them reduce the advantage again with 56 minutes played when a bustling run from the Arsenal loanee was ended illegally in the area by Joe Newell and once more Andrews did the honours.

Afobe continued to cause problems for the Peterborough defence but their two-goal lead was restored for a third time when Little emphatically drove into the top corner at the back post from Newell's left wing cross.

Zakuani's far post header to convert Tomlin's right-wing corner appeared to have sealed it but Afobe and Petrov had other ideas with two late goals.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23