Sat 27 Feb 10
at 17:14 PM
Report: Bolton 1 Wolves 0
Zat Knight's first goal for Bolton Wanderers earned his side a vital three points against Wolves.
The central defender side-footed in the only goal of the game in stoppage time at the end of the first-half as the Whites moved up to 15th position in the league table, avenging the defeat they had suffered at Molineux earlier in the campaign.
In fairness, it was a deserved win for Owen Coyle's side as they again created an abundance of chances.
Johan Elmander had three decent openings either saved or blocked in the first-half before his replacement, Ivan Klasnic, came close with just as many chances in the last half-hour.
However it wasn't all plain sailing for the Whites as Wolves twice struck the post through David Jones and Kevin Foley in the second-half.
On reflection the game should have easily had more than just the solitary goal, but it one that did fell importantly in Bolton's favour.
After resting a number of his players for the FA Cup replay at White Hart Lane, Owen Coyle made six changes to his team. Kevin Davies returned to captain the side whilst Stuart Holden was rewarded with his second successive start and Jack Wilshere also came in on the left side of midfield.
The two teams knew that plenty was a stake and both captains called their respective set of players together for pre-match huddles to remind them of the importance.
But it was a rather cagey opening with Kevin Doyle, playing in attack on his own, causing a few moments of panic for Bolton's defenders and Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Wolves, operating in a 4-5-1 formation, looked to get the ball wide whenever possible and both Zat Knight and Gretar Steinsson had to make telling blocks from dangerous low crosses.
It took Bolton 16 minutes before they carved out their first opportunity of the game when Johan Elmander scuffed a shot from the edge of the area. Kevin Davies and Chung-Yong had done well to forge out the opening with some one-touch passing, but the Swede's shot was easily claimed by Marcus Hahnemann in the Wolves goal.
Holden saw a long-range effort sail within a whisker of the post before Elmander had a powerful snap shot palmed to safety again by Wolves' American goalkeeper.
Indeed, for all his hard work and endeavour, Elmander was having no luck in front of goal, none more so than when Jody Craddock somehow managed to block the striker's attempt inside the six-yard box after Hahnemann had made a point-blank save from Kevin Davies.
The skipper volleyed wide with another effort as Bolton gained a stranglehold on the contest after a steady start.
But despite the pressure from Owen Coyle's team, both Matt Jarvis and David Jones brought fine saves out off Jaaskelainen before the half was out.
It was looking like the match would be scoreless at the break, but in stoppage time Zat Knight calmly side-footed home from four yards out to give his team the advantage.
But the goal was all about Chung-Yong Lee's determination as the South Korean chased down what looked like a lost cause following Steinsson's header from a corner.
The ball seemed destined to be running out of play however Chung-Yong rescued possession, beat Jones on the byline and put in an inch perfect cross for Knight, who ended Bolton's goalless run in the Premier League.
The Whites carried on where they left off at the start of the second half as within minutes of the restart, Kevin Davies firstly had a penalty appeal turned down for handball against Michael Mancienne before shooting straight at Hahnemann having been sent clear by Muamba.
But on the hour mark, the scores were almost level as David Jones struck the post with a free-kick from 25 yards out.
The former Manchester United midfielder beat the wall and Jaaskelainen with his curling set-piece, however the ball struck the woodwork and rolled along the goal-line to safety.
With 25 minutes remaining, Owen Coyle replaced the hardworking Elmander with Ivan Klasnic, who was making his first appearance at the Reebok since returning from a calf strain.
But it was in defence where Wanderers had to concentrate after the introduction of the Croatian hit-man. Matt Jarvis beat Steinsson for speed and would have certainly scored had it not been for a vital last-ditch interception from Sam Ricketts.
And just five minutes later, Kevin Foley became the second Wolves player to have an effort rebound off the upright. This time it was the opposite post as the midfielder's volley beat Jaaskelainen's valiant dive, much to the frustration of the 3,500 travelling fans.
Hahnemann saved well from Klasnic, Davies headed over from six yards and Klasnic again came close with a first-time volley as the match became increasingly open with Wolves pressing for the equaliser.
There were further opportunities for Bolton to increase their lead as Muamba hit an ambitious left-foot volley and Klasnic saw an equally audacious 30 yard header sail fractionally wide with Hahnemann out of position.
And whilst there was always the niggling thought in the back of everyone's mind that the failure to convert one of those opportunities might come back to haunt Bolton, they didn't prove costly as the Whites held on for the win that took them up three places in the league table.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Knight, Ricketts, Steinsson, Chung-Yong (Weiss 90), Muamba, Holden, Wilshere (Taylor 81), Davies, Elmander (Klasnic 65) (Subs: Al Habsi, Cohen, Riga, O'Brien)
Wolves: Hahnemann, Craddock, Henry, Ward, Jones, Berra, Jarvis, Zubar, Doyle, Foley (Keogh 74), Guedioura (Ebanks-Blake 68) (Subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Vokes, Milijas, Mancienne)