Bolton Wanderers 2
1-0 Gardner 76, 2-0 Dunne og 88
- Match reports
- Sun 02 Nov 2008, 6:00PM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre match news
Mark Hughes has decided to bring Pablo Zabaleta back into the starting XI following his suspension in place of Nedum Onuoha. The other change to the side which lost at the Riverside last time out sees Ched Evans replace Danny Sturridge up front.
It was notable from the kick-off that Micah Richards would again play at left back, as he did at Boro, with Richard Dunne and former Bolton defender Tal Ben-Haim at centre half and the returning Zabaleta at right full back.
The early pressure was City's with Robinho pulling the strings and on six minutes he fired a warning to Jaaskelainen by unleashing a 20-yard strike which narrowly flew over the crossbar.
Bolton’s first attempt came by way of Riga’s wild shot from distance on 17 minutes, which went high, wide and wasn’t very handsome
Both teams were still trying to feel their way into the game as the 25 minute mark came and went. Only another long range blast from Muamba gave the crowd any real cause for concern to take their hands out of their pockets in a baltic Bolton.
The best piece of play in the first half came 15 minutes from the break as Stephen Ireland made a fantastic recovery tackle to rob Riga before finding Robinho. The Brazilian then played a fine ball, which cut the home defence to bits, but was just too fast for Evans.
Pablo Zabaleta breathed a sigh of relief on 33 minutes. He felled Samuel, who deserved points for his fall, but as ref Riley reached for his pocket the Argentine must have thought back to his last City outing and the red card against Liverpool. Luckily Riley only produced a yellow one.
Richard Dunne welcomed Riga to the Premier League after 38 minutes. The skipper’s crunching tackle forced the winger to limp off for a moment or two of treatment before retiring hurt minutes after his return to the field.
As half time approached, Ched Evans slipped a great ball in for Ireland to race on to, but the midfielder couldn't beat the keeper who parried his close range effort away.
And Jaaskelainen had to be alert again to twice deny the Blues in first half stoppage time. First another smart stop from an Evans shot was followed with a low save as he held on to Wright-Phillips' diving header.
HALF TIME: Bolton 0-0 City
After a poor first half, the second 45 got underway with no changes to personnel on either side.
Shaun Wright-Phillips came to life on 51 minutes with a trademark run from deep inside the Bolton half, but as he cut in from the right, he was always losing his balance before blasting left-footed into the crowd behind the goal.
As the hour mark loomed City could have taken the lead, but were met with strong resistance, again from Jaaskelainen. Evans found Robinho on the left with a lovely lofted pass and after a couple of dummies were sold to the defender his shot was held by the Finnish stopper.
On 62 minutes it was Joe Hart who was called upon - and not found wanting - as somehow Nolan got free inside the six-yard box to shoot but Hart made a fine save before taking the Bolton captain's follow-up.
The natives were restless 20 minutes into the second half as they screamed for a penalty against Dunne. A clash between the Irishman and Matt Taylor inside the box looked like a 50/50 and that's exactly how the referee saw it.
Minutes later it was City's turn to appeal for a penalty as SWP wanted a handball against Samuel - again nothing doing.
With 68 minutes on the clock Mark Hughes made a double substitution, replacing Elano and Evans with Hamann and Sturridge.
The changes were to no avail as with 14 minutes left Bolton took the lead thanks to Ricardo Gardner.
From what looked like handball against a Bolton player high up the pitch, the hosts broke, with Nolan finding Steinsson on the right before his low cross was slammed in by the Jamaican off the underside of the bar from very close range.
Stephen Ireland tried to rally his team mates with a great run and cross down the left wing that saw Robinho inches away from getting a telling touch to six minutes from time.
But it was game over for City two minutes from time as Gardner turned provider for Bolton's second. He was freed down the left and as Kevin Davies lurked at the far post, Richard Dunne was unfortunate to get there before Davies and couldn't help but turn the ball in.
So despite looking like a game with 0-0 written all over it for large parts, City were beaten again 2-0 on the road in a game they should have taken control of.
FULL TIME: Bolton 2-0 City