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Match Report

 

Posted Sun 26 Dec 10 at 18:46 PM

Report: Wanderers 2 West Brom 0

Wanderers gave their supporters a late Christmas present by taking all three points against West Bromwich Albion.

Goals in each half from Matt Taylor and Johan Elmander proved enough to see off a resilient Baggies team as Wanderers responded to the previous weekend's defeat at the Stadium of Light in the perfect manner.

Bolton had to resist long periods of pressure from the visitors but a clean sheet - the first since the opening day of the season - was a real plus point along with professional performance and result.

Taylor and Elmander struck five minutes before the end of each half to take Wanderers' points total up to 29 points - moving the club up to fifth position in the Barclays Premier League.

Matt Taylor


Prior to kick-off, Manager Owen Coyle opted to freshen up his starting line-up by making two changes from the side that started at the Stadium of Light eight days earlier. In came Gretar Steinsson and Chung-Yong Lee as replacements for Sam Ricketts and Martin Petrov.

Both teams made patient starts to the game with the emphasis placed primarily on possession rather than creativity, but the contest was stepped up a gear after a quiet opening 15 minutes.

Graham Dorrans brought a routine save from Jussi Jaaskelainen with dipping effort from 30 yards, while former Baggie Paul Robinson made a telling headed clearance from under his own crossbar.

Bolton too decided it was time to assert themselves on their opponents as a flowing move involving Chung-Yong Lee, Kevin Davies, Fabrice Muamba and Johan Elmander on 17 minutes resulted the Sweden striker clearing the crossbar from a promising position ten yards out.

Elmander also saw a far post header easily clutched by Scott Carson and Stuart Holden went in search of his third goal of the season with a long-range drive that skidded across goal and wide of the far post.

These opportunities arrived after Peter Odemwingie had spurned a glorious opportunity to give West Brom the lead on the 20 minute mark.

After making a perfectly timed run in behind Wanderers' defence, Chris Brunt delivered a precise through ball to the Nigerian striker. However the finish was rushed and the ball skewed wide of the post when, in all probability, it should have hit the back of the net.

The net did ripple on 39 minutes, and thankfully for Wanderers it was at the opposite end of the field as Matt Taylor bagged his first goal of the season to give his team the advantage.

The former Portsmouth man started the move by chipping a precise pass over the West Brom rearguard to Chung-Yong Lee. The South Korean rounded Carson, but with the angle too tight, Chung-Yong showed great awareness to pick out Taylor, who was perfectly placed to side-foot the ball into the of the goal with his right foot.

The Baggies almost grabbed an immediate equaliser when Gonzalo Jara cut in from the right and fired towards the target. But Jaaskelainen ensured that Bolton went into half-time with a one-goal lead by making a fine save, palming the ball over the crossbar.

The Whites were under the cosh at the start of the second-half as the Baggies, and Chris Brunt in particular, came out after the interval all guns blazing. The winger twice came inches away from levelling the scores; firstly heading against the crossbar from just three yards out before volleying into the side-netting moments later.

And just short of the hour mark Jaaskelainen came to the rescue when the raced from his line to rob James Morrison of the ball just as he seemed destined to pull the trigger.

Manager Owen Coyle was forced into his change of the game on 64 minutes when Steinsson's return to the team was cut short. The defender was playing his first game since the draw at Goodison Park in early November but he had to be replaced by Sam Ricketts in a like-for-like change at right-back.

West Brom continued to probe in search of the equaliser and, similar to the first-half, Odemwingie missed a gilt-edged chance at the midpoint of the second-half. When presented with the ball 10 yards out, the striker opted for power over placement with the ball flying just past the post.

Gary Cahill made a crucial block to stop substitute Ishmael Miller from scoring within seconds of his introduction, while sandwiched in between the visitor's pressure was a flamboyant bicycle kick from Elmander which landed on the roof of the net.

With West Brom in the ascendancy, Owen Coyle made the tactical decision to trade Fabrice Muamba with Mark Davies in central midfield with 15 minutes remaining.

Ivan Klasnic for Chung-Yong Lee was another change which followed just a few minutes later as Wanderers looked to halt any momentum that the visitors had created.

The substitutions had a desired effect as Wanderers once again began to pose a threat in the West Brom penalty area. Cahill had a volley charged down and Holden brought a smart stop out of Carson with curling free-kick.

The win was wrapped up five minutes from time as Elmander struck his ninth goal of the season.

Wanderers' leading scorer escaped down the right and initially chose the unselfish option of squaring for Klasnic, who was waiting for a tap-in just a few yards out. Tamas cut out the Swede's cross but when the ball landed back at his feet, Elmander slid the ball under Carson to give Bolton an unassailable lead..

Next up for the Whites is a testing trip to West London to face Chelsea, but Wanderers will undoubtedly head to Stamford Bridge in great spirits given the manner in which this victory was achieved.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Ricketts 64), Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong (Klasnic 80), Holden, Muamba (Mark Davies 76), Taylor, Kevin Davies, Elmander (Subs not used: Bogdan, Petrov, Rodrigo, Blake)

West BromwichAlbion: Carson, Jara, Cech, Tamas, Scharner, Morrison (Miller 70), Mulumbu (Cox), Dorrans, Brunt, Tchoyi, Odemwingie (Subs not used: Myhill, Shorey, Ibanez, Reid, Barnes)


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