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Match Report: Everton 1-2 Bolton Wanderers (Bolton Fan's Perspective)

By Rob
Thursday 5th January 2012
Bolton Wanderers recovered from conceding a freak goal to collect a massive three points at a blustery Goodison Park, lifting the Trotters off the bottom of the Premiership.

Having seen fellow strugglers Blackburn, Wigan, Wolves and QPR all lose earlier in the week, Bolton knew an unlikely win at Everton would give them a huge boost towards relegation survival. And that possibility looked like a dream when they went a goal down through a bizarre goal by the hosts' goalkeeper Tim Howard just after the hour mark.

But the visitors showed a rare display of strength and bravery to fight back and claim a vital 2-1 victory, with the winner fittingly scored by Gary Cahill on possibly his last league appearance for the club, as a move to Chelsea is seemingly imminent.

The first half was relatively dull and uneventful with both sides sticking to form and delivering very little real goal threat. Louis Saha, bang out of goalscoring form this season, squandered a one-on-one opportunity and Howard pulled off a good save from David Ngog. But, compared to the misery of the first period, the match positively burst into life in the second half.

A lot of talk before the match surrounded the return of creative forward Landon Donovan to the Everton team, having joined on a 2-month loan from LA Galaxy. But it was Donovan's American teammate Howard who went from goalstopper to goalscorer, seemingly grabbing all the headlines. Howard used the heavy winds that have battered the country this week to launch a huge clearance downfield from his penalty area. The ball bounced 30 yards out from goal and, much to the shock of stand-in Wanderers keeper Adam Bogdan, took a huge kick off the surface over the keeper's head and into the Bolton goal to put Everton ahead on 63 minutes. Howard's sensational 102-yard strike, probably the longest range goal ever in the Premier League, made him just the fourth goalkeeper to score in the Premiership.

But four minutes later Bolton were level with an excellent team goal that typified their much improved performance. Mark Davies found the lively Nigel Reo-Coker with a little back heel, and Reo-Coker's deflected pass fed David Ngog in on goal to steer the ball cleverly past Howard with a curling shot into the corner of the net.

Wanderers were buoyed by the equaliser and began to show glimpses of the free-flowing passing football that had them threatening a European finish in the early stages of last season.

And the visitors' new found confidence paid off with 12 minutes to go with Cahill's apt final flourish that may add a few extra million pounds to his price tag. Everton failed to clear Petrov's free kick swung in from the right and the returning Chris Eagles, who was mysteriously left out of the starting line-up for the last few matches, got free of Leighton Baines on the edge of the box and fed stand-in captain Cahill to fire in the winning goal.

There was a late scare for Bolton as Baines hit the crossbar with a free-kick in the last minute, but they hung on for a vital three points that has Wanderers fans dreaming their side will finally find some form and drag themselves clear of relegation. The win also guaranteed Bolton consecutive away victories for the first time since September 2009, following their 2-1 defeat of Blackburn before Christmas.

It remains to be seen whether this huge victory, which takes Bolton above both Blackburn and Wigan and just one point behind Wolves and QPR, can inspire Owen Coyle's men to improve their dreadful recent form, as previous victories this season have failed to do so. But, amazingly, Bolton have now gone two games unbeaten for the first time this season, so that's something to build on.

The increasingly likely departure of Cahill during the January transfer window will be a huge blow to Bolton's relegation survival hopes, and the pressure will be on Coyle to bring in some new faces to improve the team's fortunes.

Everton: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka (Rodwell 42 (Cahill 61)) Distin, Baines; Donovan, Heitinga, Neville, Osman (Gueye 53); Saha, Stracqualursi. Unused subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, McFadden, Anichebe.

Goals: Howard (63)

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan; Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Ricketts; M Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov; Eagles (Pratley 81); Ngog (K Davies 87). Unused subs: Lynch, Robinson, Wheater, Tuncay, Klasnic.

Goals: Ngog (67), Cahill (78)

 
Rob

Total articles: 69

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