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Match Report


Posted Sat 19 Nov 11 at 17:47 PM

Report: West Brom 2 Wanderers 1

Wanderers were edged out at the Hawthorns as Shane Long's second-half header won the points for West Bromwich Albion.

The Baggies had nudged themselves in front after just a quarter of an hour in controversial fashion when Jerome Thomas converted from close-range, despite a suggestion of offside against Long in the build-up.

Bolton's response was almost instant as Ivan Klasnic levelled from the penalty spot after Fabrice Muamba had taken a tumble inside the area.

In a second-half much quieter than the first, Long struck the decisive blow with a well-placed header that beat Jussi Jaaskelainen with help from the inside of the post on 56 minutes.

Two weeks had passed since Wanderers were last in action, but the previous victory over Stoke City was still fresh in the mind, and therefore Owen Coyle kept faith with the same players that had performed so admirably against the Potters. As for Roy Hodgson, he was able to call upon the services of the fit again Long, who had recovered from a knee injury to spearhead the Baggies' attack.

Chris Eagles was named the Man of the Match against Stoke after contributing with two well-executed goals, and the former Burnley man went close to extending his tally for the season to five with a sizzling volley from outside the area which flew over Ben Foster's crossbar by only a few inches.

Gary Cahill, fresh from England duty, also went close to breaking the deadlock, however his free header from a corner was cleared off the line by Youssouf Mulumbu, amid claims from the Bolton players that the midfielder deflected the ball away from goal with his upper arm.

Albion too started brightly and the Whites were forced to defend a couple of corners inside the first ten minutes, one of which was half-cleared to Chris Brunt, whose somewhat rushed effort from 25 yards was dragged wide.

It was West Brom who struck the first blow on 17 minutes, with Jerome Thomas finding himself in a position to latch on to Zoltan Gera's slide-rule pass and convert after rounding Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Wanderers were right to claim for offside with Long stood in a position beyond the Bolton backline, however a combination of the referee and his assistant deemed that the Republic of Ireland frontman was not interfering with play.

However, the Baggies' lead was short lived as Bolton bounced back just four minutes later with Klasnic's goal from the penalty spot.

Having been the hero moments earlier, Thomas turned villain when he was adjudged to have decked Muamba inside the area. Klasnic was the man to step up from 12 yards out, and he coolly slotted the ball into the corner of the net leaving Foster with absolutely no chance.

Now back in the game, Wanderers looked to push on and put themselves ahead.

Klasnic forged half a chance for himself when he robbed Gareth McAuley of possession inside the area, while seven minutes before half-time Foster produced a fine save to deny Mark Davies, who had weaved past several attempted challenges on the edge of the box prior to hitting his left-footed shot.

On the stroke of half-time, Long brought Jaaskelainen into the action with a header from 10 yards out, as it was though the scores were level heading into the interval.

It had proved to be a lively, feisty and ultimately entertaining first half, with the sell-out crowd helping to add to the atmosphere. The game was very much nip-tuck, but overall Bolton had shaded things having created the better chances.

It seemed Roy Hodgson must have had a few words with his team at the break as the Baggies came flying out of the traps at the start of the second-half. They pressed and probed in and around the Wanderers box and regained the lead on 56 minutes through Long.

Thomas fired over the bar and David Wheater made an important sliding clearance before the second goal was scored, with the number nine guiding a header into the far corner of the net having met Nicky Shorey's delivery from the left.

Mulumbu shot high and wide, and Long's appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears as the hosts looked to extend their advantage. Coyle's response was to make a double change on 68 minutes with Chris Eagles and Kevin Davies being replaced by Martin Petrov and David Ngog.

As the minutes ticked by in the second period, Wanderers were still in the game. Clear cut chances were hard to fashion, though, with Klasnic's shot from the edge of the area the closest Bolton came prior to the last ten minutes.

Coyle's third and final change of the game was the introduction of Gael Kakuta, but still there was no way past West Brom's defence for a second time, as the hosts hung on for the victory.

Next up for Wanderers is a visit from Everton in seven days' time.

West Brom: Foster, Olsson, Morrison, Long, Brunt, Reid, Thomas (Dorrans 78), Shorey, Mulumbu (Cox 90), Gera, McAuley (Subs not used: Fulop, Tchoyi, Dawson, Jones, Fortune)

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Riley, Wheater, Cahill, Robinson, Eagles (Petrov 68), Reo-Coker, Muamba (Kakuta 80), M Davies, K Davies (Ngog 68), Klasnic (Subs not used: Bogdan, Tuncay, Knight, Pratley)

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