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Match Report


Posted Sun 06 Nov 11 at 17:18 PM

Report: Wanderers 5 Stoke City 0

Wanderers produced a five-star display to avenge last season's FA Cup semi-final defeat as they demolished Stoke City at the Reebok Stadium.

Ivan Klasnic and Chris Eagles bagged a brace after Kevin Davies had set the ball rolling with a little over 60 seconds on the clock.

It was a completely one-sided contest with Bolton dominating from the first whistle to last. They were two goals to the good at the interval and then scored three more after the break.

The victory was the club's biggest ever at home in the Premier League, eclipsing the 5-1 win over Newcastle United last season.

Bolton 5 Stoke 0

Ahead of kick-off, Wanderers boss Owen Coyle made no less than five changes to the side that took to field against Swansea eight days earlier. Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic were selected to spearhead the attack, while Fabrice Muamba and Paul Robinson also earned recalls. Perhaps the biggest piece of news, however, was the inclusion of Joe Riley, who was handed his Premier League debut at right-back.

Wanderers got off to the perfect of starts, taking the lead in bizarre yet improvised circumstances with just two minutes played.

Glenn Whelan, collecting possession 30 yards from his own goal, lofted the ball towards goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who opted to make the catch rather than clear any danger. Referee Howard Webb adjudged it to be a backpass and Klasnic, quick wittedly, slid the ball sidewards for Kevin Davies to convert into the empty net, catching the Stoke defence completely off-guard.

Indeed, it was an impressive opening from Bolton, who could have found themselves with an even bigger lead had it not been for two full-stretch saves from Begovic, who pushed away long-range drives from Chris Eagles and Mark Davies inside the first ten minutes.

Stoke, meanwhile, started to grow into the game after a quarter of an hour, with Pennant looking lively on the right touchline. On one particular attack, the former Liverpool winger managed to cross from the byline for Peter Crouch, whose scuffed shot from eight yards out brought a scrambling save from Jussi Jaaskelainen.

It was Wanderers, however, who netted the all-important second goal of the game, and similar to the opener, it was a brilliant piece of opportunism, this time from Eagles on 23 minutes.

After Klasnic had forced Begovic into a hurried and misplaced clearance, the number seven took one touch to control the ball before lashing an expertly-placed left footed effort into the back from 30 yards out. With the Stoke goalkeeper desperately trying to scramble back into position, there was nothing he could do as the shot flew past him and into the corner of the net.

With the two-goal lead, Bolton began to knock the ball around with confidence, dominating the remainder of the first period. Muamba fizzed one narrowly wide from distance while Kevin Davies headed the wrong side of the post from an Eagles set-piece.

Equally, Wanderers' efforts in attack were mirrored at the opposite end of the field as defensively the team dealt well with Stoke's aerial and physical presence in the opening half. Riley in particular enjoyed a comfortable first 45 minutes in the Premier League and, deservedly, it was 2-0 to the Whites at the interval.

Stoke came out after the break with more purpose and could have found themselves back in the game on two instances shortly after the restart.

Cameron Jerome glanced a header just wide of the target, while Mark Davies was in the right place at the right time to make a necessary clearance after Robert Huth had guided one of Rory Delap's long throws on target.

As it was, Wanderers extended their lead to three goals on the hour mark when Klasnic rifled the ball past Begovic from the edge of the area with a little bit of help from the inside of the post.

The Bosnian stopper had already denied Muamba in the second half, but there was little he could do to stop Klasnic, who collected the ball off Paul Robinson from the left before firing across goal and into the back of the net in typical fashion.

Tony Pulis' response was to make a triple change with Danny Higginbotham, Dean Whitehead and Kenwyne Jones all being thrust into the action. But Wanderers continued to pile on the pressure as Nigel Reo-Coker came close to bagging his second goal for the club with a fierce long-range drive.

Three became four on 73 minutes as Eagles rounded-off a sweeping Bolton attack to notch his second of the afternoon.

Reo-Coker's punt down field was headed into the path of Klasnic by Kevin Davies, and after the Croat released Eagles with a delicate slide-rule pass, the former Burnley man deftly flicked the ball over Begovic and into the back of the net to send the home fans wild.

At this point it was all Bolton, with the Potters having to contend with wave after wave of attack. The home fans cried 'we want five' and they got their wish as Klasnic notched his second of the afternoon from point-blank range.

Eagles' corner was met by a towering header from David Wheater and Klasnic flicked the ball past Begovic with the faintest of touches.

As the game ticked into its final stages, Wanderers could, and perhaps should, have made it six. Muamba raced through only to see Begovic smother his close-range effort, while Tuncay was only inches away from sliding to covert Riley's centre which flashed through the six-yard box.

Riley had enjoyed an outstanding Premier League debut and it was fitting that the 20-year-old was withdrawn to a standing ovation moments before the full-time whistle. Indeed, chants of 'there's only one Joe Riley' echoed around the Reebok as he was replaced by Zat Knight deep into stoppage time.

Seconds later and the rest of the team received the plaudits from the home faithful as referee Howard Webb blew his final whistle to end a memorable afternoon of football at the Reebok.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Cahill, Wheater, Riley (Knight 90), Mark Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker (Pratley 89), Eagles, Klasnic (Tuncay 85), Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Bogdan, Petrov, Ngog, Kakuta)

Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Whelan (Higginbotham 67), Pennant (Whitehead 67), Walters, Upson, Delap, Crouch, Wilkinson (Jones 67), Jerome, Woodgate (Subs not used: Sorensen, Diao, Shotton, Palacios)

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