Report: Cardiff 0-3 Bolton
A trio of second half goals saw Bolton blow away their Cardiff City counterparts in the sunshine in South Wales.
After a disjointed opening half, the evergreen pair of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey very much helped Bolton over the line.
Following his goalscoring exploits for Iceland, Gudjohnsen netted his third goal in as many games to open the scoring after the restart.
Craig Davies then netted a sublime brace, with two low rasping drives to ensure Wanderers left the Cardiff City Stadium with maximum points.
Neil Lennon rang the changes for the trip to South Wales. Adam Bogdan, Dorian Dervite, Saidy Janko, Heskey, Gudjohnsen and Davies all returned to an attack-minded Bolton starting XI.
Adam Le Fondre missed out due to the loan agreement between the two clubs, whilst Joe Mason, recently returning from a temporary spell at Macron Stadium, was on the bench for Cardiff.
The game began with three quarters of the pitch bathed in glorious sunshine.
Both sides had early sights of goal. Craig Noone sent a low daisycutter through a ruck of players that was comfortably gathered by Bogdan, whilst up the other end Heskey was unable to turn home Davies’ low cross at the near post.
After a pretty tame opening, Cardiff began to up the ante with Noone dictating much of the attacking play when cutting in from the right side.
On one occasion the Cardiff number 11 flashed a shot into Bogdan’s side netting, before then teeing up Peter Whittingham whose low effort whistled narrowly wide.
On 25 minutes, only Barry Bannan’s goal-line clearance following Eoin Doyle’s instinctive effort from a corner kick prevented the hosts from taking the lead.
Bolton then fashioned a similar opportunity, as Dervite’s looping header from Bannan’s corner was nodded away by a defender from underneath the Cardiff crossbar.
Cardiff did have the ball in the net on the half hour, only for Doyle’s touch and finish from inside the six yard box to be disallowed for an offside.
In stoppage time Whittingham curled a free kick up, over the Bolton wall and marginally wide of the post.
The second half resumed in a similar fashion, before, arguably against the run of play, Bolton broke the deadlock.
It came just before the hour mark, when Heskey puffed out a chest with his back to goal to tee up Gudjohnsen. The Icelander took a clever touch on the edge of the area, before crashing a volley into the top corner.
And four minutes late it would get even better for Wanderers.
Heskey was once again heavily involved, holding the ball up well to release Davies. He then scampered forward fully 40 yards down the left, before momentarily halting his run and driving a low shot across the face of goal and into David Marshall’s far corner.
From that moment forward Bolton seemed more relaxed in possession, as the game very much developed an end of season feel.
Noone did fizz a low shot wide, as Cardiff attempted to halve the deficit.
But on 73 minutes the game was put to bed.
Bannan flighted a superb ball over the Cardiff backline to release Davies. He then assumed possession on the angle of the area, before checking inside Fabio and once again firing into the bottom corner.
Cardiff showed little sign of life from that moment forward, as Lennon introduced Neil Danns and Liam Feeney to add extra legs to the Bolton midfield.
In the end Bolton would see the game out for an ultimately comfortable three points, their fourth on the road this season.