Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Birmingham City

  • December 22, 2007 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton beat Birmingham 3-0 at the Reebok Stadium to lift themselves three points clear of the bottom three.

El-Hadji Diouf put Bolton in front with less than 20 minutes to go, before Nicolas Anelka helped himself to a brace to complete the scoring.

Bolton began the brighter of the two sides, but were lacking the quality in the final third to break down a stubborn Birmingham defence spearheaded by former Wanderers defender Radhi Jaidi.

Ivan Campo had the first chance with just two minutes on the clock, curling a 20-yard free-kick just wide of Maik Taylor's left hand post after Jaidi had fouled Anelka.

Taylor was called into action again not soon after, forced into parrying Anelka's snap shot after the ball broke to the Frenchman.

Anelka should have scored with Bolton's next attack, Campo picked out Diouf with an excellent crossfield ball, but Wanderers' record signing shot straight at the Northern Ireland international keeper.

Danny Guthrie was next to try his luck from distance, trying a 20-yard volley which was well off target.

Kevin Nolan should have given the hosts the lead from a set-piece, the ball fell kindly to Nolan who from just six yards out fired into the side netting.

Having seen very little of Birmingham on the attack, they managed to break through Sebastian Larsson. The Swede picked out lone striker Cameron Jerome who fired high and wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's goal.

Off the ball clashes between Nicky Hunt and Gary McSheffrey went unpunished by referee Chris Foy, but Hunt soon found himself in the book for a scinical challenge on the former Coventry man.

Wanderers almost took the lead through their former defender just before the break, but Jaidi's deflection on a Kevin Davies cross was cleared off the line.

After the break, it was Campo's turn to scare the fans, almost putting past his own goalkeeper. The Spaniard deflected a McSheffrey free-kick towards goal but Jaaskelainen made a comfortable save.

The hosts wrongly had a goal ruled out for offside just before the hour. Jaidi's foul on Hunt resulted in Diouf's free-kick finding Nolan unmarked at the back post before firing past Taylor, only to see his effort chalked off. The linesman ruled Davies flicked the ball on, but television replays proved otherwise.

But Bolton weren't to be denied a deserved lead, Stephen Kelly made a complete mess of clearing an Anelka cross, allowing Diouf to pick in at the back post and whilst under pressure, the Senegalese international kept his composure to put Wanderers in front.

After previously failing to break Birmingham down, Wanderers took full advantage of a schoolboy error to double their lead.

Johan Djourou opted to pick out his goalkeeper from a throw-in, but Anelka was soon onto the ball, rounding Taylor and slotting into the empty net to score his 100th goal in English football.

Substitute Olivier Kapo almost brought the visitors back into the game with five minutes to go, but after rounding Jaaskelainen, his shot was cleared off the line by a combination of Hunt and Andy O'Brien.

Then, in the final minute of stoppage time, Bolton completed the scoring, after being played through by Nolan, Anelka found himself one-on-one with Taylor and after a slight dummy, placed his shot into the bottom corner.

The clean sheet and three points will be well received by Bolton boss Gary Megson whose side travel to Goodison Park to face high-flying Everton on Boxing Day.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Meite, A O'Brien, Gardner, Nolan, Campo (McCann 59), Guthrie, Davies (Samuel 79), Anelka, Diouf
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Speed, Giannakopoulos
Booked: Diouf, Gardner, Hunt
Goals: Diouf 72, Anelka 78,90

Birmingham City: Taylor, Kelly, Jaidi, Schmitz, Sadler (Kapo 46), Larsson, Johnson, Djourou, Muamba, McSheffrey (O'Connor 74), Jerome
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Forssell, Nafti
Booked: Jaidi, Johnson

Attendance: 19,111
Referee: Chris Foy

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
15 Shrewsbury Town 26 30
16 Cambridge United 25 30
17 Bolton Wanderers 25 29
18 Lincoln City 25 28
19 Fleetwood Town 25 28
View Full Standings >>


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