Cardiff 1-1 Bolton

Craig Noone celebrates

Craig Noone's fine free-kick rescued a draw for Cardiff City and ensured their Championship title celebrations were not spoiled by play-off chasing Bolton.

Chris Eagles' fierce low shot, after being set up by Sam Ricketts, had given Wanderers an early lead.

But substitute Noone equalised in the second half with a cultured strike that squeezed in at the near post.

The draw means Bolton will guarantee a place in the play-offs by beating Blackpool at home next Saturday.

Nottingham Forest and Leicester City are the only two teams who can overtake the Trotters in the final play-off spot, but the Midlands rivals face each other in next weekend's final round of the regular season.

Cardiff, of course, came into the game already confirmed as champions and readying themselves for next season in the Premier League.

The presentation of the Championship trophy came in front of a packed Cardiff City Stadium, with the 26,000-odd crowd containing former chairman Sam Hammam - a guest of current owner Vincent Tan.

Hammam, who brought an end to his six-year tenure as Cardiff City chief in October 2006 after agreeing to sell his majority share holding, is the spokesperson for Langston, whom are understood to be owed £24m in loan notes.

The public meeting between the two businessmen offers hope that Cardiff can start next season free of historic debts and on a firm financial footing.

Jordan Mutch almost gave Cardiff a perfect start on their celebration day, surging through on goal in the first minute, but Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal stood up until the last moment to block.

Bolton were desperate for a win to give them some breathing space in the battle for the play-off places and Eagles provided the tonic on 18 minutes with the opening goal.

Ricketts refused to give up battling for the ball and the Welsh international's persistence paid off as the full-back won possession before picking out Eagles.

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Cardiff City celebrate title win

David Marshall was given no chance as the Bolton midfielder smashed home across the Scotland goalkeeper.

Bolton nearly doubled their advantage before half-time as Darren Pratley strode though on goal, but the former Swansea City midfielder saw his goal-bound shot intercepted as Marshall flung out a leg.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay replaced Craig Conway with Noone and Tommy Smith for Mutch.

The changes revitalised the Bluebirds. Noone rolled a well-weighted pass across the face of goal to find Smith unmarked just six yards from goal, only for Bogdan to scramble across and make the save.

Then Aron Gunnarsson's direct run earned a free-kick within shooting distance and Noone stepped up to send the ball past the defensive wall and in at the near post.

Cardiff upped the tempo further - with target man Rudy Gestede and Craig Bellamy to the fore - as they went in search of a winner to cap a day of celebration.

Bolton were pushed onto the back foot but a loose back-pass from Ben Turner nearly gifted the visitors a winning goal.

Pratley was on the mistake in a flash but the alert Marshall hurled himself out of his goal to win the 50-50 challenge.

The save rescued Turner's blushes and allowed his defensive partner Mark Hudson - the Cardiff captain - to hoist the Championship trophy with an unaffected smile on his face.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay:

"To win promotion against Charlton was fantastic, to win the title in front of 2,000 of our fans at Burnley was great, but to lift the trophy and have the medals here at our stadium in front of 27,000 people is something that will live with me forever.

"Our families make sacrifices for us as footballers, and it is nice on days like this for them to be involved as well.

"I am proud of everyone at the club. It means a lot to the club and the city and it gives everyone a great sense of pride. We have been pulling in the right direction for 99 per cent of the season and when you do that, titles are won. It's a day I will never forget."

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman:

"It was a great point for us, I do not think we did enough to win but we showed the quality in the first half to deserve to get something out of the game.

"We defended well in the last quarter after they equalised and it is a fantastic point and it means our fate is still in our own hands.

"If someone had said when I came in here and we were 17th in the league we would have to win the last game to get in the play-offs we would have taken it."

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