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Match Report


Posted Sat 17 Apr 10 at 18:19 PM

Report: Stoke City 1 Bolton Wanderers 2

A LATE double strike from Matt Taylor ensured Wanderers picked up a vital three points at the Britannia Stadium

David Kitson put the hosts in front early in the first half with a clinical piece of finishing.

But Taylor hit two goals late on, the first of which came with less than six minutes remaining, to turn the game on its head.

The midfielder's first was a trademark 25 yard free-kick before he pounced to convert from close range with less than two minutes of normal time remaining.

It was no less than Wanderers deserved after their spirited second-half fightback, which saw them claw their way back into the game after the introduction of Ivan Klasnic and a change in formation at the break.

After seeing his players perform so admirably against leaders Chelsea just four days earlier, Owen Coyle went with the same starting line-up, operating under a 4-5-1 formation.

A handball from Danny Higginbotham 30 yards from goal presented the Whites with the first opportunity, which Matt Taylor drilled into the wall.

The travelling contingent of over 1,000 supporters were in fine voice from the first whistle but the first ten minutes passed by without any real action.

However, Wanderers found themselves one goal down on 12 minutes when Dave Kitson scored for the eighth time this season.

Tuncay executed the perfect defence-splitting pass, and the flame haired striker rounded Jaaskelainen before slotting into the net despite Paul Robinson's best efforts to slide and intercept on the goal-line.

And moments later it was almost two as Robert Huth headed one of Rory Delap's trademark long throws against the outside of the post - the second occasion in the game that he had threatened having earlier nodded just over the bar from a similar position.

After the hosts' bright spell, the contest simmered down as Bolton looked to regroup following the early setback. But they were up against a well organised Stoke side, marshalled at the back by former Wanderer Abdoulaye Faye and Huth.

Indeed opportunities were limited in a first-half of frustration for the Whites which was typified when Gary Cahill and Fabrice Muamba produced uncharacteristic misplaced passes in the moments leading up to the half-time interval.

It was no surprise to see a change at half-time as Owen Coyle bolstered the firepower within the team by bringing goal threat Ivan Klasnic into the fray at the expense of Sam Ricketts.

Zat Knight sliced wide, Taylor had a penalty appeal turned down and Klasnic fired inches past the far post as Bolton came out fired-up after the interval.

It was the kind of response that would have encouraged Owen Coyle, even more so when Klasnic drilled inches wide again from a bit further out on 55 minutes.

Indeed, it was all Bolton at the start of the second half and Stoke had Sorensen to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 when he dove full stretch to his right to repel Jack Wilshere's curling effort from 25 yards.

But Stoke's defence held strong and after weathering Wanderers' early attacks, and Tony Pulis side began to offer a bit more to the second-half. Jaaskelainen firstly denied Whitehead when the midfielder ran clear before Tuncay struck the post after being set-up by substitute Matthew Etherington.

The latter stages of the game continued to be very open as substitute Vladimir Weiss caused the home side a fresh set of problems, and it was his contributions on the right wing which ultimately helped swing the game in Wanderers favour.

But Taylor had an even bigger input, scoring two goals inside the last five minutes.

Weiss used his skill and trickery to win a free-kick 30 yards from goal, and Taylor, in typical fashion, stepped up to hit the set-piece under the wall and into the bottom corner of the goal.

The Wanderers fans were delirious, and it was to get even better just three minutes later when the number seven pounced again to score the winner.

Again Weiss was the provider, forging an inch of space on the right before delivering an inviting cross to the near post.

Taylor got in front of his marker and guided the ball beyond the hapless Sorensen to silence the stunned and previously vociferous home supporters.

But Bolton had to survive four minutes of injury time, in which home skipper Faye somehow managed to sky over the crossbar from three yards out.

Stoke: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Faye, Huth, Collins, Delap, Whitehead, Whelan, Lawrence (Etherington 72), Tuncay (Fuller), Kitson (Beattie 83) (Subs: Pugh, Begovic, Wilkinson, Moult)

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong (Weiss 71), Muamba (Mark Davies 82), Wilshere, Ricketts (Klasnic 46), Taylor, Kevin Davies (Subs: Al Habsi, Elmander, Samuel, Cohen)

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