Wanderers scrapped to save a point with 10 men at Northampton Town thanks to Carlos Mendes Gomes’s first-ever league goal for the club.

Things were looking bleak midway through the second half as the Whites trailed 1-0 to Kieron Bowie’s early strike.

George Thomason was sent off for a foul on Aaron McGowan, then manager Ian Evatt saw red during the half time interval.

It all added up to a miserable afternoon on the road for Bolton, at least until Mendes Gomes produced a bolt from the blue to save a draw and his side’s blushes on a day they had never been at their best.

Wanderers made four changes to the side that had started the game at Cambridge, with Joel Coleman coming in for his first league start, replacing the injured Nathan Baxter.

Liverpool loanee Calvin Ramsay also got his first league start, Josh Dacres-Cogley dropping out of the squad. Kyle Dempsey and Zac Ashworth replaced Aaron Morley and Nat Ogbeta.

Wanderers have developed a nasty habit of conceding early on, and lost all concentration in the first few minutes after a soft foul by Kyle Dempsey gave Marc Leonard a shooting chance from a free kick just outside the box. The Cobblers man curled a shot against the post with Coleman beaten, but as Bolton dithered, McGowan put the ball back into the six-yard box for Bowie to sweep into the net.

Bolton struggled to find their poise. Will Hondermarck combined with Louis Appere for another big chance, spilled by Coleman and gathered at the second attempt.

Hondermarck would have another fizzing effort tipped wide by Coleman before the half was through, after another error in possession by Dempsey, but not before the big talking point of the half had occurred.

McGowan had already tussled with Adeboyejo twice, the second occasion buying a clever foul that landed the Bolton striker with a yellow card.

George Thomason had amassed 15 yellow cards in all competitions this season – his disciplinary record somewhat overshadowing what has been his best campaign in Bolton colours.

When on 27 minutes he steamed into a challenge with McGowan on the touchline, leaving his feet but not seemingly making a telling connection with the player, he received his first red card of the campaign.

McGowan got up quickly, his face again sporting a knowing grin, and Wanderers suddenly had an even bigger job on their hands.

A yellow card was also flashed at a member of the Whites’ coaching staff as the protests continued, Thomason briefly looking as if he would go back on to the pitch to confront McGowan again.

The Northampton man did leave the field shortly afterwards and Bolton regained a semblance of hope with a sustained spell of pressure during stoppage time.

During the half time break it emerged that Evatt had been sent off by referee Simpson – and he would not be allowed to be within viewing distance of the pitch in the second half.

That did not stop him throwing on Aaron Collins and Carlos Mendes Gomes, the former creating a gilt-edged chance for Jones with one of his first involvements.

The Welshman rolled a cross to the far post which Jones could only nudge against the post and then squeeze with a second touch.

That moment had a momentary deflating effect. The home side had a big penalty appeal turned down when Caleb Taylor and Eoin Toal crunched into a challenge with Hondermarck and looked like they were coasting into the last 15 minutes without a care in the world.

But, out of nowhere, a brilliant dipping volley from Toal was tipped over the crossbar by Louie Moulden, the Bolton-born on-loan Wolves keeper who was brought on at half time, and who just happened to be the brother of Bolton kitman Ted Moulden.

Northampton managed to get first contact on the corner but the ball was allowed to bounce, and Mendes Gomes threw himself at it, his header creeping just inside the post in front of the jubilant Bolton supporters.

From there it was ‘Who Dares Wins’. Toal, Collins and Mendes Gomes had goal-bound shots blocked after Ashworth’s far post corner caused issues.

Northampton had a chance to win it at the bitter end as John Guthrie’s stab at goal drifted agonisingly wide of the post.