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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 18 Sep 10 at 20:11 PM

Aston Villa 1 Wanderers 1

Wanderers ended their poor run of results at Villa Park with a hard-earned 1-1 draw.

Bolton's three previous visits to Aston Villa's home patch had ended in 4-0, 4-2 and 5-1 defeats but there was to be no repeat this time as Owen Coyle's side got their rewards for a gutsy effort.

As with the game against Arsenal the previous week,
Bolton had to come from behind following Ashley Young's expertly taken free-kick early on.

And Kevin Davies restored parity with a well-taken equaliser ten minutes before half-time following a swift counter-attack.

While both managers would have felt that their respective team could have gone on to win the game in an open second-half, a draw was a fair result on reflection of the chances created.

Villa Park

Kevin Davies, who had shrugged off his concussion to lead out his team, was inches away from giving Wanderers the lead with just four minutes played.

Martin Petrov seized possession and having turned centre-half James Collins, the skipper curled an effort wide, missing the target by the closest of margins.

Equally, it was the same for the home side as moments later Marc Albrighton capitalised on some hesitant defending to fire across Adam Bogdan and narrowly wide of the far post from the edge of the box.

Ashley Young had proved Wanderers' chief tormentor over the years and once again he found the net on 12 minutes - the fifth successive game that he had notched against the Whites.

And it was from a fine 30-yard free-kick after Fabrice Muamba had been adjudged to have tripped the former Watford man. Having regained his footing, Young stepped up to bend a terrific effort over James Collins - who had taken a place within Wanderers' wall - and into the net past the outstretched hand of Bogdan.

Just three minutes later and there was more unfortunate news for Bolton and Andy O'Brien in particular as the centre-half limped from the field. O'Brien had been forced to bide his time for a start in the Premier League and it was a cruel blow that just a quarter of an hour in he had to be withdrawn and replaced by the versatile Sam Ricketts.

Following the two early setbacks, Wanderers were forced to dig in and weather a period of possession from the hosts. But they did regroup and begin to play themselves back into the game.

Gretar Steinsson cut inside to fizz an effort wide with his left foot, Chung-Yong Lee had a legitimate shout for a penalty fall on deaf ears having been grounded by Stephen Warnock and Luke Young made a goal-saving block to thwart a fierce Kevin Davies volley.

However Davies wasn't to be denied as ten minutes before half-time the captain was in the right spot to fire Wanderers level, rounding off a superb Bolton break involving five players.

Steinsson, Stuart Holden and Chung-Yong Lee combined down the right and when Wanderers' American midfielder delivered a cross to the far post, Martin Petrov was well positioned to play a dangerous ball back into the six-yard box. Davies was the recipient and after taking a touch to compose himself, he swivelled and buried the ball past Brad Friedel.

The goal gave Owen Coyle's men momentum and before half-time they were unlucky not to find themselves in the lead.

After embarking on a 40-yard dribble, Johan Elmander seemed to be upended in the area by Richard Dunne, however no penalty was awarded. Stuart Holden also saw a skidding effort from the edge of the box drift fractionally wide.

Half-time perhaps came at a good time for Aston Villa as there could be little doubt that Wanderers had bossed things in the 20 minutes leading up to the break.

Kevin MacDonald, taking charge for the last time before Houllier begins his managerial reign, was forced into a substitution at the interval. Carlos Cuellar came on to fill in at centre-half after Richard Dunne didn't reappear, presumably through some form of injury.

Stephen Ireland's side-footed attempt almost gave the hosts the perfect start to the second-half.

Just four minutes had passed after the restart when the former Manchester City midfielder bent a shot goalwards following a mazy dribble, but Bogdan kept a watchful eye and the ball floated wide and struck the stanchion behind the goal.

Ten minutes later and the Wanderers' goalkeeper was this time forced to make an important contribution when Stewart Downing drilled goalwards through a crowded box. The Hungarian did excellently to firstly save with his legs before pouncing on the rebound.

The second-half followed a similar pattern to the first with Wanderers having to dig deep in defence for large periods, but there were occasions when opportunities were conjured up at other end of the field.

Twice Petrov found space to volley towards goal and only a finger tipped save from Friedel and then brave block from Collins denied the Bulgarian from registering his first goal in Bolton colours.

John Carew was thrown on as caretaker boss MacDonald pressed for a winner but Bolton's patched-up rearguard stood up to everything the hosts threw at them, much to the frustration of home supporters.

But, in saying that, if it hadn't been for the form of Friedel then Wanderers would have come away with all three points.

Substitute Matt Taylor was thwarted from scoring with a 25-yard free-kick - first touch in the game - by the American before the vastly experienced stopper made an even better save to deny Elmander when Chung-Yong teed the Swedish striker up 12 yards from goal.

But as it was, a point a piece was a fair outcome from a spirited effort by both teams.

Aston Villa: Fridel, Luke Young, Warnock, Dunne (Cuellar 46), Downing, Ashley Young, Ireland (Carew 73), Agbonlahor, Albrighton, Petrov, Collins (Subs not used: Guzan, Heskey, Reo-Coker, Clark, Bannan)

Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, O'Brien (Ricketts 18), Robinson, Chung-Yong, Muamba (Mark Davies 68), Holden, Petrov (Taylor 84), Elmander, Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Lainton, Taylor, Klasnic, Rodrigo, Blake.)

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