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Match Report


Posted Sat 03 Apr 10 at 17:20 PM

Report: Bolton 0 Aston Villa 1

A first-half Ashley Young goal proved to be the only difference as Aston Villa completed the double over Bolton.

The England man's curling effort on 11 minutes settled the game in the visitors' favour as they kept up their hunt for the fourth Champions League spot.

Neither side managed to conjure up anything clear cut throughout the contest but Wanderers could feel unlucky not to have earned at least a point with their second-half performance.

With Wolves and Hull City both losing and Wigan and West Ham not in action, the result left Bolton still occupying 15th position in the Premier League table.

The first ten minutes of the game belonged to Bolton and Tamir Cohen in particular, who found space on two occasions to fire in testing early efforts.

The Israeli midfielder's first attempt was dragged across goal, but his second certainly had more power and accuracy as Brad Friedel made a competent low save, palming away the volley from 15 yards out following Kevin Davies' chested assist.

But it was Villa who struck first as Ashley Young netted for the fourth consecutive game against the Whites.

It was a clinical finish from the 24-year-old, who bent the ball into the far corner of the net from a tight angle on the edge of the area. Jaaskelainen dived full-stretch to his left, but the accuracy of the former Watford man's finish left the Wanderers' goalkeeper with no chance.

Bolton's response to the early set back was encouraging as Jack Wilshere, making his seventh successive start, saw a shot fly through a crowd of bodies before rolling just wide of Friedel's left-hand post.

Either side of the half-hour mark, Jaaskelainen was twice called into action to deny both of Villa's England strikers.

Gabriel Agbonlahor had a snap shot tipped over the bar after turning former team-mate Zat Knight while Young was denied from notching second when Jaaskelainen again showed strong hands to palm away from a similar distance.

The early goal had given the visitors a platform which to control the pace of the game and Wanderers generally found goalscoring opportunities hard to come by in the remainder of the first half after falling behind.

But Bolton did start brightly in the immediate minutes after the restart, most notably when Jack Wilshere saw an effort that was destined for the far corner blocked by James Collins.

Ivan Klasnic was brought into the fray with just over half an hour remaining as Elmander, who had endured a luckless afternoon, was replaced in a like-for-like change in attack.

And the Croatian striker found himself in the action almost instantly when he was well positioned deep inside the Villa penalty area but unable to get enough contact on a header from Ricketts' teasing right-winged cross.

Owen Coyle made his intentions clear when he sacrificed Tamir Cohen for Vladimir Weiss in another attack-minded substitution, however the next goalmouth action that ensued was in Bolton's own area when a Stuart Downing corner somehow flew through the six-yard box untouched.

As the match entered the final quarter, the pace picked up as Bolton pressed further for equaliser.

Friedel raced off his line to deny Klasnic and Weiss drew another low save from the American goalkeeper with an effort that was scuffed slightly.

But with the pace within Villa's ranks, Wanderers always had to remain cautious of the threat posed on the counter-attack.

That proved evident when Whites were almost hit with the sucker punch when the earlier goalscorer Young escaped down the right, crossed for Heskey, and barring a terrific point-blank block from Jaaskelainen then Villa would have killed the game off with ten minutes left to play.

And just moments later, Agbonlahor wasted another gilt-edged chance as he raced clear only to side-foot wide with just Jaaskelainen to beat.

Those misses gave Wanderers extra belief and the game finished as it started, with Bolton in the ascendancy.

Cahill acrobatically volleyed wide, Davies had a header plucked out of the air by Friedel and Taylor saw a close-range attempt blocked by a melee of defenders.

But it wasn't to be for Bolton as for the first time in five years, the game ended other than a score draw.

After the whistle there was an unsavoury incident which saw Ivan Klasnic, Jack Wilshere and Stuart Downing all cautioned.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Knight, Cahill, Ricketts, Wilshere, Cohen (Weiss 65), Muamba, Chung-Yong (Taylor 78), Elmander (Klasnic 58), Kevin Davies (Subs: Samuel, Steinsson, Al Habsi, O'Brien)

Aston Villa: Friedel, Dunne, Downing, Ashley Young, Carew (Heskey 70), Agbonlahor, Delph (Sidwell 75), Petrov, Cuellar, Warnock, Collins (Subs: Luke Young, Milner, Delfouneso, Guzan, Beye)

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