Match ends, Bolton Wanderers 3, Eastleigh 2.
Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Eastleigh
Bolton enjoyed some respite in a troubled week as they progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of non-league Eastleigh.
The Championship's bottom club, facing the threat of a winding-up order, fell behind to a super Joe Partington goal.
Gary Madine levelled before Dean Moxey put the hosts ahead with a strike from the edge of the box.
A composed Kaid Mohamed equalised but the influential Darren Pratley struck from 12 yards to seal a nervy win.
Neil Lennon's beleaguered team will host Championship rivals Leeds United in round four at the end of the month, providing a much-needed financial boost for the debt-ridden club.
Something to celebrate in difficult times
The financially-troubled Trotters are seven points adrift of safety in the Championship and before the match captain Pratley had described this season as a soap opera.
The club are £172.9m in debt, under a transfer embargo for breaching Financial Fair Play rules and their High Court hearing for a winding-up order has been adjourned until next month.
Victory against a team fifth in the National League may not normally be a cause for great celebration for a side in the Championship, but this win was crucial to the confidence of a team which had won just once in their last 22 games.
Spirited Bolton fightback
Bolton were made to battle for their place in the fourth round and, at times, there was a sense that Eastleigh, the only non-league team remaining in the competition, were set to cause a great upset.
The non-leaguers, in the first half especially, were composed and well organised defensively, while Bolton were on edge, though they showed spirit in responding to Partington's burst down the right flank which resulted in a dreamy goal for the full-back.
Madine dragged the hosts back into the match, controlling Josh Vela's cross to finish low beyond Ross Flitney.
But Eastleigh too were resolute in a thrilling first half as Welshman Mohamed scored his first FA Cup goal since November 2012 to negate Bolton's second goal.
After the break, Pratley scored a goal his industry deserved after a neat one-two with substitute Shola Ameobi, who will be available to play in the league on Saturday against MK Dons despite being set to leave because the club cannot offer him a new deal.
The stats you need to know
- All of Madine's seven FA Cup goals have come against non-league opposition.
- Ameobi registered his first assist in English footbll since September 2012 (Newcastle v Everton).
What the managers said
Bolton boss Neil Lennon: "It was a hiding to nothing, I'm absolutely delighted. It was never going to be easy.
"I'm pleased, particularly with the second-half display. We could have won by a little more in the end.
"Psychologically it's a confidence booster going forward in the league as well."
Eastleigh manager Chris Todd: "The cup run we've been on has been outstanding and the two performances against a Championship outfit have been incredible.
"The lads showed great commitment and desire. They could have caved in, but that's what my players won't do.
"We were unlucky in the end but Bolton showed their class at times, which we expected."
- 14MadineSubstituted forAmeobiat 52'minutes
- 22WellingtonSubstituted forWooleryat 86'minutes
- 20HardingBooked at 90mins
- 14StrevensBooked at 45minsSubstituted forMidsonat 75'minutes
- 28MohamedSubstituted forLafayetteat 86'minutes
- 10ReasonSubstituted forCookat 79'minutes
- Mark Clattenburg
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Bolton Wanderers 3, Eastleigh 2.
Dan Harding (Eastleigh) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Liam Feeney (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Dan Harding (Eastleigh).
Attempt saved. Andy Drury (Eastleigh) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Liam Feeney (Bolton Wanderers).
Lee Cook (Eastleigh) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Bolton Wanderers. Conceded by Joe Partington.
Rob Holding (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ross Lafayette (Eastleigh).
Foul by Darren Pratley (Bolton Wanderers).
Josh Payne (Eastleigh) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Eastleigh. Ross Lafayette replaces Kaid Mohamed.
Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. Kaiyne Woolery replaces Wellington.
Attempt missed. Shola Ameobi (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Mark Davies (Bolton Wanderers) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Corner, Bolton Wanderers. Conceded by Paul Reid.
Substitution, Eastleigh. Lee Cook replaces Jai Reason.
Attempt missed. Wellington (Bolton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Attempt blocked. Jai Reason (Eastleigh) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Foul by Rob Holding (Bolton Wanderers).
Jack Midson (Eastleigh) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Eastleigh. Jack Midson replaces Ben Strevens.
Foul by Liam Trotter (Bolton Wanderers).
Jai Reason (Eastleigh) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Mark Davies (Bolton Wanderers).
Andy Drury (Eastleigh) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Wellington (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Josh Payne (Eastleigh).
Foul by Josh Vela (Bolton Wanderers).
Jai Reason (Eastleigh) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Ben Strevens (Eastleigh) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Mark Davies (Bolton Wanderers).
Liam Trotter (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jai Reason (Eastleigh).
Josh Vela (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by James Constable (Eastleigh).
Corner, Bolton Wanderers. Conceded by Ben Strevens.
Attempt blocked. Darren Pratley (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.