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Sunday, 14 May, 2000, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Stewart sparks Town comeback

Holdsworth celebrates but Ipswich fought back strongly
Bolton 2-2 Ipswich

After three successive years of play-off heartbreak Ipswich's fans might just believe that this will be their year.

Half an hour into this first leg of this year's knockout path to the Premiership Town were 2-0 down, with two of their most important players having to be substituted due to injury.

But Marcus Stewart, the mid-season signing from Huddersfield who had scored just twice for his new club before this match, doubled that tally as the visitors came back to go into Wednesday's home leg all square.

Key moments
5 mins: Holdsworth header for 1-0
26: Gudjohnsen's classy curler
32: Johnson follows Mowbray out of the game
36: Stewart volley gives Town hope
65: Equaliser thanks to Reuser's ball and Stewart's finish
Dean Holdsworth and Eidur Gudjohnsen had given Bolton the perfect start as they bid to win a third semi-final this season after defeats in both cup competitions.

But Stewart's looping volley at the end of the first half, and his run and finish midway through the second means the Suffolk club will be favourites at Portman Road in midweek.

From the start there were chances for both sides with Jim Magilton and David Johnson going close for the visitors before Holdsworth opened the scoring from Bolton's first attack of the match.

Claus Jensen's corner was floated into the edge of the six-yard area where the former Wimbledon striker headed past Richard Wright in the Ipswich goal.

David Johnson tries to score before his injury

Despite the setback Ipswich were still creating opportunities although both defences looked well short of Premiership class.

Jamie Clapham's attempted cross to Johnson was hacked clear before Gudjohnsen was denied by Manuel Thetis and then Matt Holland at the other end.

Holdsworth came close to another goal after Thetis had casually played the ball across his own area and the ball ricocheted into Wright's arms.

It was Gudjohnsen who struck a brilliant second for Wanderers after a ball across the edge of the area from Allan Johnston.

The Icelandic striker made himself room and curled the ball sweetly inside Wright's right hand post.

Bad to worse for Town

Ipswich's all-too-familiar play-off nightmare was turning worse by the minute as defensive veteran Tony Mowbray and Johnson both limped off.

But after four setbacks in 32 minutes the side from Suffolk battled back into the tie with a remarkable goal from Stewart.

The striker sweetly volleyed the ball first time from 30 yards, and although Jaaskelainen got a hand to the looping effort, he could only palm it into the roof of the Bolton net.

Johnston was next to go close, and should have restored Bolton's two-goal lead before the break as he charged onto a ball from Holdsworth on the edge of the area.

But the Scotsman trod on the ball and allowed Thetis to muscle him away as the home crowd howled for a penalty.

Four minutes after the break it was Jensen's turn to be wasteful.

Paul Warhurst and Matt Holland

The Dane wasted his own superb run through the Ipswich defence by ignoring the unmarked Gudjohnsen and allowing himself to be tackled with Wright beaten.

By this stage Stewart had already missed another superb chance, heading over from eight yards after a knock-down from Jamie Scowcroft.

But the former Huddersfield striker was not about to waste his next opportunity, which came after slack defending from the home side.

Martjin Reuser, who had replaced Johnson, played the ball behind the Bolton defence and into the path of Stewart who ran around Jaaskelainen.

After what seemed an age for the Town supporters behind the goal he finally curled the ball beyond two diving defenders on the line and into the net.

Holdsworth had a penalty appeal turned down before Reuser went close to a winner, and it was Ipswich who finished stronger underneath a blazing Lancashire sun.


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Bergsson, Fish, Ritchie, Whitlow, Johansen, Jensen, Warhurst, Johnston, Holdsworth, Gudjohnsen. Subs: Banks, Hansen, Elliott, Phillips, Passi.

Ipswich: R. Wright, Wilnis, Thetis, Mowbray, Venus, Clapham, Scowcroft, Magilton, Holland, Johnson, Stewart. Subs: Naylor, Branagan, Brown, Reuser, Croft.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville)

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