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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 14 Aug 10 at 18:56 PM

Wanderers 0 Fulham 0

Fulham held Wanderers to a scoreless draw for the second season in succession as the spoils were shared on the opening day at the Reebok.

In an eventful stalemate,
Bolton did all they could to try conjure up an all-important winner, but they were denied by a resilient Cottagers' defence which was marshalled extremely well by impressive goalkeeper David Stockdale.

The Fulham stopper - deputising for Mark Schwarzer - produced a string of saves, while Stuart Holden struck the post deep into the second-half.

Zat Knight and Gary Cahill were excellent in defence, as to was Johan Elmander up front, and while one point was never really in doubt, three would have been a deserved return for the collective team effort.

Wanderers 0 Fulham 0

Owen Coyle went with the in-form Johan Elmander in attack alongside skipper Kevin Davies, as Zat Knight for Andy O'Brien was the only change in the team from the final friendly of pre-season against Osasuna.

After a steady start, in which Elmander and Danny Murphy saw shots fly just wide of the post, both teams began to offer a little bit more.

The home fans were off their feet on 14 minutes when Martin Petrov escaped down the left, but instead of whipping a ball into the centre for Elmander, the Bulgarian dribbled into the area and was the subject of a last-ditch tackle from Aaron Hughes.

In the next attack, the summer signing from Manchester City did manage to get a shot away on goal from all of 30 yards, which rookie goalkeeper David Stockdale - making just his second Premier League start - did well to clutch on to.

The closest Fulham came to scoring in the first-half was at the midway point when Bobby Zamora attempted an audacious chip from outside the area. The ball cleared Jaaskelainen and also the crossbar before landing on the roof of the net.

Zoltan Gera headed wide from a corner, Elmander brought another good save from Stockdale with a snap-shot from long-range and Fabrice Muamba blasted high and wide in stoppage time as the first 45 minutes of the new season passed by without a goal being scored.

Wanderers began the second-half in the ascendancy as they piled on the pressure continuously after the restart.

Elmander, who was at the heart of every attack, forced Stockdale into two fine saves.

The first was an instinctive palm over the crossbar after the striker had spun and fired goalwards. And the second was perhaps even better, as having taken the ball past Hangeland, Elmander was thwarted when the 24-year-old keeper raced from his line.

Sandwiched in between the two efforts was a strong penalty shout, but Stuart Attwell refused to point to the spot when Chung-Yong Lee appeared to be upended inside the box by Danny Murphy.

Fulham offered very little and seemed more and more content to sit back and settle for a point as the half progressed.

The only occasion they caused real concern for Bolton's impressive defensive unit was when substitute Dempsey stung the palms of Jaaskelainen with a fierce drive when they did enjoy a rare spell of possession inside Wanderers' half.

The Whites knew that it wasn't going to be their afternoon when Stuart Holden struck the outside of the post with 12 minutes remaining. The American did well to carve out an opening on the edge of the box, but to the frustration of the Bolton fans, the ball bounced off the frame of the goal and out to safety.

Matt Taylor, Mark Davies and Ivan Klasnic were thrown on in the latter stages to try and help find a winner, but it wasn't to be as both teams had to accept a point a piece.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Chung-Yong, Muamba (Mark Davies 84), Holden, Petrov (Taylor 84), Elmander (Klasnic 88), Kevin Davies (Subs: Bogdan, Ricketts, Blake, O'Brien)

Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Hangeland, Gera (Dempsey 74), Murphy, Duff, Hughes, Etuhu, Zamora, Simon Davies (Subs: Zuberbuhler, Baird, Stoor, Riise, Greening, Elm)

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