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Match Report


Posted Sat 12 Dec 09 at 17:26 PM

Report: Bolton 3 Manchester City 3

Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City played out a six-goal thriller at the Reebok.

It was an action-packed
North West
derby from the first whistle to the last, as the visitors came from behind on three occasions to net a share of the spoils.

A close-range tap-in from Ivan Klasnic gave Wanderers an early lead but Carlos Tevez levelled with a deflected shot from outside the box.

Gary Cahill curled Wanderers into a 2-1 lead with a superb individual goal but in stoppage time at the end of the first half, Micah Richards advanced from right-back to lash in City's second equaliser.

After the interval, Klasnic netted his second of the game with a crisp volley but after being reduced to ten-men when Craig Bellamy was dismissed for two bookings, Tevez grabbed an equaliser with a neat left-foot finish from the edge of the penalty area.

Manager Gary Megson reshuffled his defence following the defeat at Wolves as Paul Robinson and Zat Knight both returned to the fray. Kevin Davies returned to the attack and Fabrice Muamba was also recalled.

It was a bright start from both teams as Chung-Yong Lee and Carlos Tevez both had attempts that were off-target. There was a real impetus in Wanderers and when Robinson was tripped 30 yards from goal, Matt Taylor struck a fizzing free-kick that was deflected behind. Indeed, the hosts were camped inside the visitors half during the opening ten minutes, forcing a number of corners and limiting City to sporadic counter-attacks.

Before the game, Gary Megson had stated the importance of his team getting the first goal and that duly arrived on ten minutes through a predatory finish from Ivan Klasnic.

The Croatian striker pounced from close-range after great build-up play down the left from Kevin Davies and Matt Taylor. The number seven's cross found its way to Chung-Yong and when the South Korean drilled in a lot shot, Klasnic tucked the ball past Given before darting away in celebration.

City could have no complaints because the early lead was all that Bolton deserved.

Not content with the 1-0 advantage, the Whites pressed for further goals and they nearly extended their lead shortly after grabbing their first when Tamir Cohen's acrobatic bicycle kick inside the six-yard box flew just over the bar.

And then there was a strong shout for a penalty kick on 19 minutes as Chung-Yong's delicious cross seemed to strike the arm of Micah Richards. However Mark Clattenburg remained unmoved.

Paul Robinson's inclusion in the starting line-up had undoubtedly added some extra steel to Wanderers and aside from providing support to Taylor on the left touchline, the former West Brom defender also made some important well-timed tackles in the first 45 minutes. The most notable one left Shaun Wright-Phillips nursing an injury and the winger had to be replaced by Stephen Ireland midway through the first period.

Then against the run of play, City found themselves level on 28 minutes through a deflected effort from Carlos Tevez.

The former Manchester United man, like the majority of his team-mates, had played a peripheral role in the first half, but the Argentine popped up to score with a shot from just outside the penalty area. His effort flew up off Cohen's attempted tackle en route to goal before landing high into the net past Jaaskelainen's best attempts.

As the cliché goes, goals change games and the equalising strike gave the visitors the momentum for the next ten minutes. The closest that Mark Hughes' side came to nudging ahead was when an unmarked Gareth Barry flashed an effort across goal with his left foot when he should have perhaps at least hit the target.

But Bolton's battling qualities came to fore just before the interval when Gary Cahill conjured up an undoubted contender for goal of the month.

The central defender had advanced for a throw-in deep in City's half, and having found the ball at his feet with his back to goal, Cahill spun two City defenders with a neat turn before taking the time to curl a superb left foot shot into the far corner.

The goal looked to have given Wanderers a half-time lead but the first half action didn't end there as deep into injury time, City once again pulled themselves level.

It was Micah Richards who finished a neat move from left to right, latching onto Ireland's pass and firing into the back of the goal between the near post and Jaaskelainen.

After a pulsating first 45 minutes, more entertaining football was to follow in the second.

It was another frantic start as Sylvinho had a long-range shot saved well by Jaaskelainen and Knight saw a prodded attempt blocked inside a packed City area.

Then came Wanderers' third and Klasnic's second goal of the game on 53 minutes.

It was a move straight from the training ground as Robinson's testing cross was flicked on by the head of Davies at the near post, and Klasnic, again in the right place at the right time, thumped the ball past Given with an instinctive left-foot volley.

It was proving to be real end-to-end football as Wanderers could have twice extended their lead in the blink of an eyelid. Both opportunities came as a result of break through midfield. The first resulted in Muamba thrashing the ball wide after the advantage had been played following a foul on Chung-Yong by Sylvinho, and the second unfortunately ended when Davies lost his footing in a promising position.

The action didn't cease, as Craig Bellamy was sent for an early bath just after the hour mark. The former Liverpool and West Ham man took a tumble under a challenge with Paul Robinson on the edge of the penalty area and was shown the yellow card for simulation. After being booked already, Mark Clattenburg had no option but to send Bellamy off.

With 15 minutes remaining, Gary Megson made a like-for-like change in attack with Johan Elmander brought on for the hardworking Klasnic. After notching two goals and working tirelessly for the cause, the number 17 fully justified the standing ovation that he received.

But within five minutes of the substitution, Manchester City had equalised for a third time.

Tevez was the scorer, his second strike of the afternoon once again coming with a shot from the edge of the area. This time it was with his left foot as he found the net with a precise finish across goal.

Lescott missed his kick from just a few yards out in the final five minutes, but unlike the first half, there was to be no late drama as both teams were forced to accept a point for their whole-hearted efforts.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Knight, Cahill, Steinsson, Taylor, Muamba (Mark Davies 80), Cohen, Chung-Yong, Klasnic (Elmander 74), Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Al Habsi, Samuel, O'Brien, Ricketts, Basham)

Man City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Kompany (Robinho 74), Sylvinho, Wright-Phillips (Ireland 20), Barry, Bellamy, Adebayor (Santa Cruz 83), Tevez (Subs not used: Taylor, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Petrov)

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