Sunderland 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 29, 2007 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/3af6c

Bolton ended a miserable 2007 with a 3-1 defeat at Sunderland thanks to goals from Kieran Richardson, Kenwyne Jones and Daryl Murphy.

El-Hadji Diouf scored a solitary reply for the visitors with the scores at 2-0 but Wanderers were unable to turn possession into goals and end the year one point above the relegation zone.

The game started off on a quiet note and Sunderland took the lead through the first meaningful attack of the game. Jones strolled past a number of Wanderers defenders before picking out the run of Richardson who fired past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

After more than four months out with a back injury, Richardson returned to the side in the Boxing Day defeat against his former club Manchester United, and he continued to be a threat to the Bolton defence, being involved in the move that doubled the host's advantage.

Richardson swung a corner into the near post, which was well read by Jones who, unmarked, planted his header past Jaaskelainen to make it 2-0.

Worryingly for Bolton boss Gary Megson, his side had failed to make an impact on the game, and Sunderland looked like they were going to cruise to victory.

But a change of tactics brought a new dimension to their play and they got themselves a foothold in the game five minutes before the break. Diouf's hopeful free-kick into the box was missed by everybody, including goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who could only watch as the ball nestled into the far corner of his goal.

The hosts started the brighter of the two sides after the break, with Richardson forcing Jaaskelainen to tip over the bar after a good move involving Andy Cole.

Diouf had a great chance to level for Bolton five minutes after the break, but after good build-up play from Kevin Davies and Nicolas Anelka, excellent defending from Sunderland's Grant Leadbitter prevented Diouf from getting his shot on goal.

Both sides had chances to alter the scoreline once more, but Sunderland's Cole and Bolton's Davies both failed to test the goalkeepers.

The final half hour was pretty much all Bolton, but some dogged defending by Roy Keane's side managed to keep Wanderers out, limiting their chances on goal.

Bolton's most notable chance of an equaliser came just after the hour when Anelka's shot hit Diouf, but the Senegalese international reacted quickly to get a shot away which went inches wide of Craig Gordon's post.

With every man back behind the ball, Sunderland eventually broke out and hit the visitors on the counter attack to end the game and take the points.

Jones managed to flick a hopeful long-ball into the path of substitute Daryl Murphy who kept his composure to slide the ball past Jaaskelainen.

The result leaves both sides level on 17 points with Bolton ahead on goal difference. Both sides sit out New Years' Day but are in action on Wednesday when Bolton face a must win game with bottom club Derby at the Reebok, while Sunderland travel to Blackburn.

Sunderland: Gordon, Whitehead, McShane, Higginbotham, Collins, Miller, Richardson (O'Donovan 70), Etuhu, Chopra (Leadbitter 46), Cole (Murphy 57), Jones
Subs Not Used: Ward, Waghorn
Booked: Richardson
Goals: Richardson 13, Jones 32, Murphy 90

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Samuel (Guthrie 56), Meite, A O'Brien, Gardner, J O'Brien, McCann, Nolan (Campo 87), Diouf, Anelka, Davies (Giannakopoulos 73)
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Michalik
Booked: Diouf, Davies
Goals: Diouf 41

Attendance: 42,058
Referee: Phil Dowd

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 AFC Wimbledon 4 1
21 Accrington Stanley 3 1
22 Southend United 4 0
23 Bolton Wanderers 3 -11
24 Bury 0 -12
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