WANDERERS showed their fighting spirit to twice get themselves back on level terms to earn a point against Cheltenham Town.

Xav Amaechi scored on his full Bolton debut to level Alfie May’s early effort, and when May put the Robins ahead on the stroke of half time, Elias Kachunga came up with a spectacular equaliser to level the scores again.

Down to a dozen fit outfield players, Ian Evatt had few options in naming his side. But cannot help but be impressed with their attitude on the day.

Kachunga continued his superb form, scoring a fourth goal in four games, and Wanderers may well have nicked it at the end when a big penalty appeal was turned down for handball against Chris Hussey.

Wanderers were slow to start, allowing Cheltenham a bit too much space around the penalty area early on. May and Dan Crowley had sighters in the first 10 minutes.

Joel Dixon was then forced into a serious save as Liam Sercombe burst on to Kyle Vassell’s chested pass on the edge of the area.

The pressure eventually told, and it was May who waltzed into the box from the left wing without a serious challenge being made to slot the ball under Dixon for the opening goal.

At that point, it looked like being a long old afternoon for Evatt’s injury-hampered side but they steadily got themselves back into the game, Amaechi and Eoin Doyle going close before eventually bringing themselves level.

Wanderers had been reluctant to risk Amaechi at the start of last week but the winger apparently pleaded his cause to Evatt in midweek, assuring him he was ready to start against Cheltenham and fill the attacking void left by the suspended Dapo Afolayan.

Handed his first start in Bolton colours, he then supplied his first goal in English football.

Kieran Lee’s excellent pressing on the edge of the Cheltenham box regained possession and when Doyle drove a low cross into the six yard box, Scott Flinders failed to gather and Amaechi was there to mop up from close range.

Cheltenham always possessed a threat, particularly from set pieces, but they were being kept at distance as the half wore on.

Bolton, meanwhile, started to use the full width of the UniBol and get full-backs Declan John and Liam Gordon on the ball more often in the wide positions.

Amaechi and George Thomason drove shots wide from distance but with four minutes of stoppage time played, Ellis Chapman opened Bolton up wide with an angled pass through to May and the Cheltenham man slotted home for his second goal of the day.

Bolton did not mope and started the second half in commanding fashion with Kachunga and John combining effectively on the left flank.

Doyle had a shot deflected just wide, Ricardo Santos had a goal disallowed for what appeared a questionable offside and Liam Gordon – again playing in the unfamiliar right-back role – also sent a dipping shot in on the Cheltenham goal.

Wanderers deserved to get back on level terms and did so in spectacular fashion as the excellent Kachunga was played in on the left by Thomason, cutting in on to his left foot to curl a perfect shot into the far corner.

For a few moments it looked like the Whites would go on and get a third. Kachunga and Amaechi were tormenting the visiting defence and the crowd were roaring for more.

But the balance tipped back in Cheltenham’s favour with about 25 minutes to go, with Will Aimson clearing off the line from Kyle Joseph, who had flicked on Crowley’s corner.

Evatt had to protect Amaechi, replacing him with Nathan Delfouneso, and though Wanderers searched for a winner to the bitter end – sub Alex Baptiste firing over the bar in stoppage time – they never quite recovered the same sort of swagger.

Nevertheless it was an impressive show from a side decimated by injury, and gave some reason for optimism for folk who had braved the wintry weather.