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Match Report: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 Bolton Wanderers (Bolton Fan's Perspective)

By Rob
Saturday 31st March 2012
Bolton came from a goal down to defeat relegation rivals Wolves 3-2 in a thrilling battle of the Wanderers at Molineux. The vital result saw the visitors record three straight Premier League victories for the first time in six years, and left their hosts peering down the barrel of relegation.

Three goals in 20 second half minutes saw Bolton seize the initiative from Wolves, who had earlier taken the lead through the lively Michael Kightly. The game hinged on a dubious penalty decision that got Bolton level, and also caused the Wolves defence to capitulate.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle made the brave move of going with two strikers, pairing Ivan Klasnic with David Ngog. 4-4-2 hasn't been the best formation for Bolton this season, and the switch in tactics seemed to be a blunder as Wolves dominated the first half, despite a bizarre bust-up between teammates Roger Johnson and Wayne Hennessey.

Steven Fletcher went closest to scoring, as the Scottish international was denied three times in the first half. Fletcher first saw a header cleared off the line by Ryo Miyaichi, then he was denied by an excellent one-handed save by Bolton's in-form goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and saw his header crash off the bar on the stroke of half-time.

Bolton rarely threatened in the first period, but almost made a flying start to the second half as David Wheater fed the ball out to Miyaichi on the right wing then marauded forwards to get on the end of the Japanese winger's cross, but saw his header creep inches wide of the goal.

Wolves finally got their noses in front eight minutes after the break. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, making a rare start in place of Kevin Doyle, fed the ball to Kightly, who cut in off the wing and finished expertly into the bottom left hand corner from 20 yards out.

The goal should have instilled confidence into Wolves yet it seemed to have the opposite effect as Bolton managed to fight their way back into the match. The pivotal moment came 10 minutes after Wolves' opener as referee Jon Moss awarded Bolton a very dubious penalty.

Mark Davies broke into the box, shifted the ball from left to right and Johnson rushed out to make a challenge, but the centre-half withdrew his foot. Davies went down and was awarded what was at best, a lucky penalty. Martin Petrov held his nerve to coolly fire the visitors level.

The equaliser was a catalyst for Bolton to take control of the match and the introduction of club captain Kevin Davies, in place of Klasnic with 20 minutes to go, seemed to spur the visitors on. With 11 minutes remaining Ngog should have scored but as per usual failed to do so, as the goal-shy French striker's effort cannoned against the bar. Luckily for the visitors the ball bounced down to left-back Marcos Alonso to tap home for his first ever Bolton goal.

Falling behind saw the hosts really fall apart and just four minutes later Kevin Davies doubled Bolton's lead. The one-cap England international, who has been out of form for much of this season, converted a Chris Eagles pass from close range to score his second goal in as many matches.

At that point it seemed like game over. But this roller-coaster of a match had yet another twist to come, as Matt Jarvis scored a close range effort to bring it back to 3-2 with two minutes to play. The hosts pushed for an equaliser, but the Bolton defence just about held firm.

The vital victory saw Bolton leapfrog Blackburn into 16th place, but the relegation fight is now tighter than ever as both Wigan and QPR also managed to pick up victories. Just one point separates Bolton and 19th placed Wigan, while Bolton now trail Aston Villa by just four points, ensuring the Midlands' club will very much looking over their shoulder at the relegation battle. Wolves, however, seem doomed to relegation as the defeat leaves them six points adrift of safety, with a drastically inferior goal difference.

Wolves: Hennessey; Bassong, Johnson, Stearman, Ward; Kightly, Edwards (Milijas 87), Davis (Henry 87), Jarvis; Ebanks-Blake (Doyle 81), Fletcher. Unused subs: De Vries, Berra, Zubar, Hunt.

Goals: Kightly (53), Jarvis (88)

Bolton: Bogdan; Ricketts, Wheater, Ream, Alonso; Miyaichi (Eagles 77), Reo-Coker, M Davies, Petrov; Klasnic (M Davies 70), Ngog (Knight 90). Unused subs: Jaaskalainen, Boyata, Vela, Sordell.

Goals: Petrov (pen 63) Alonso (80), K Davies (84)

Total articles: 69

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