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Match Report


Posted Tue 29 Dec 09 at 23:18 PM

Report: Bolton 2 Hull City 2

Bolton extended their unbeaten run to four matches in a 2-2 draw with Hull City.

Wanderers took a 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to Ivan Klasnic's goal on 21 minutes - the third home match in succession that the on-loan striker had found the net.

Kevin Davies doubled the Whites lead with a brave header before Stephen Hunt grabbed two goals in the space of seven minutes to earn his team a draw.

Fabrice Muamba returned to the Bolton team at the expense of Chris Basham, whereas Hull manager Phil Brown resisted the temptation to tweak his starting line-up despite a tough and energy sapping contest against Manchester United just two days prior.

Wanderers took the game to their opposition right from the first whistle and were in fact awarded a free-kick just four seconds into the game when Kevin Davies was hacked to the floor following a direct run straight from the kick-off.

Ivan Klasnic and Chung-Yong both blazed over with ambitious attempts in the opening exchanges while Fabrice Muamba came close to opening his goalscoring account for the club with a half-volley from 10 yards out.

Hull seemed content to absorb pressure and hit on the counter-attack through the bullish attack pairing of Jozy Altidore and Craig Fagan, with the former spurning the visitors only real attempt on Jussi Jaaskelainen's goal in the first quarter of the contest - a scuffed shot that was dragged harmlessly wide.

Over 20,000 spectators had braved the freezing conditions at the Reebok and the vast majority were given something to shout about on the 21 minute mark as Wanderers went one goal ahead through Klasnic, who netted for the sixth time this season.

A long ball forward by Zat Knight was headed partially clear and when the ball landed at the Croatian's feet 25 yards from goal, he let rip with his deadly left foot, beating Myhill with a powerful low drive. It was the perfect way for the striker to christen his brand new sparkling yellow boots.

A set-piece had been the source of Bolton's goal at Turf Moor three days earlier, and Jaaskelainen had to be alert to avoid a free-kick from an almost identical location beating him just minutes after his team had taken the lead. Andy Dawson hit a similar strike to that of Matt Taylor's but the Wanderers stopper positioned himself excellently to palm away the full-back's testing effort.

Hull's tactics throughout the course of the first-half centred mainly of pumping long aerial balls deep into Bolton territory. The rearguard had, in the main, look extremely comfortable in dealing with the threat, however one lapse in concentration ten minutes before the interval nearly brought the equaliser.

Jaaskelainen didn't get enough purchase when attempting to deal with a cross into the box and when Hunt threw his head at the rebound, Gary Cahill was excellently poised to turn the former Reading man's effort around the post. Then, just moments later, the central defender came close to matching Klasnic's goalscoring tally for the campaign with a header that was misdirected up at the other end of the pitch.

Altidore hit a wayward free-kick wide of the target just before half-time as Wanderers successfully absorbed a short period of Hull pressure to take a fully deserved 1-0 lead into the interval.

The start of the second-half followed a similar pattern to that of the first with Bolton coming out the brighter, the most notable passages of play being two off-target free-kick attempts from Taylor. But still Wanderers couldn't relax and they were given warning of that when Zayette wastefully nodded wide having been left unmarked from a corner.

That was something Kevin Davies didn't do as he doubled the Whites lead on the hour mark with a typically brave header.

It was a goal completely out of the blue as the captain fended off the challenges of two defenders to flick Paul Robinson's deep free-kick into an unguarded net. Boaz Myhill had raced off his line in an attempt to collect but direct pass, but he got it all wrong and was marooned yards off his line.

Cahill would have surely made it 3-0 minutes shortly after the second goal but the Hull goalkeeper made amends for his error with a superb point blank stop.

Wanderers' defence had been trouble-free for almost the entirety of the game and it looked likely that the first clean sheet of the season was beckoning as the second half progressed. But the Tigers ended those hopes when they reduced arrears through Stephen Hunt.

The former Reading man found space inside a packed penalty area and planted a header past Jaaskelainen following Craig Fagan's inviting cross from the right.

And just seven minutes later, Hunt notched his second goal of the evening with a finish from an acute angle to make the score 2-2. Substitute Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink used his height to win a flick-on and the nimble winger converted despite the best efforts of both Jaaskelainen and Robinson.

Gretar Steinsson last found the net for Bolton in the corresponding fixture last season and in the final minute, the Icelander almost struck a late winner with a deflected drive from outside the area. Unfortunately, the ball ricocheted inches wide of the post in what was the last real opportunity of the game.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Taylor, Muamba, Cohen, Chung-Yong, Kevin Davies, Klasnic (McCann 75) (Subs: Al-Habsi, Elmander, Gardner, O'Brien, Ricketts, Mark Davies)

Hull: Myhill, Dawson, Gardner, Fagan, Altidore (Barmby 54), Hunt, Garcia (Vennegoor of Hesselink 63), Mendy, Boateng, Zayette, Olofinjana (Geovanni 75) (Subs: Duke, Kilbane, Mouyokolo, Ghilas)

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