Middlesbrough 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 19, 2008 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/fc9e8

Bolton have recorded back-to-back victories for the first time in over a year after a deserved 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Gavin McCann scored the only goal of the game just after the hour as Wanderers claimed all three points and moved out of the bottom three.

Wanderers were backed by around 2,000 fans after the club had laid on free travel for those wanting to make the trip, but they were probably expecting the worst as the hosts began strongly.

Goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was forced to make a string of fine saves, with the first coming as early as the second minute when he turned David Wheater's volley over the crossbar.

Stewart Downing was next to try his luck for Gareth Southgate's side but his effort sailed over the bar, before Jeremie Aliadiere teed up Tuncay Sanli who forced Al Habsi into another fine save.

Andrew Taylor and January signing Afonso Alves also had efforts on goal for the home side, but Bolton's Oman international goalkeeper was keeping the scores level.

Bolton finally threatened just before the half hour, with Tamir Cohen finding space in the area but the Israeli put his effort into the stands.

The game was then briefly held up because of interference from a streaker, who was led away by stewards, allowing play to continue.

Matt Taylor was next to try his hand on the Boro goal, but his effort forced stand-in goalkeeper Ross Turnbull into a simple parry down to his left.

But Boro went straight down to the other end and Wheater got on the end of Downing's cross but his header went just wide of goal.

Cohen had another chance for Wanderers soon after, but he was later substituted after a clash of heads left him on the floor and unable to continue, with Danny Guthrie replacing him during five minutes of first-half stoppage time.

While Cohen was receiving treatment on his injury, Gary Cahill also received treatment for a head injury of his down, but the no-nonsence defender managed to play on.

After a subdued opening 45 minutes at the Riverside, Bolton looked a whole different team after the break and had two chances to break the deadlock inside five minutes of the restart.

First, Taylor's effort hit the post before being cleared for a corner, from which Grzegorz Rasiak, making his first start for the club, glanced a header onto the crossbar.

Kevin Nolan and Ivan Campo also had efforts on goal, but neither side looked like making a breakthrough.

Boro responded brightly and could have had a penalty at the other end. Downing's cross appeared to take a deflection off Gretar Steinsson before hitting McCann on the arm, but referee Alan Wiley waved away the protests and play continued.

Danny Guthrie almost gave Wanderers the lead just before the hour, but his looping cross was headed off the line with goalkeeper Turnbull beaten before Taylor's follow up shot was deflected onto the post and behind for a corner.

After being involved in penalty appeals moments earlier, ex-Sunderland player McCann did his popularity amongst the Teesside faithful no favours when he opened the scoring from the resulting corner.

Taylor's corner was delivered into the six yard box and after Turnbull had parried Cahill's goalbound header, McCann found himself in the right place at the right time to stab home from two yards.

The goal sparked huge celebrations from fans and players alike, with all ten of Wanderers' outfield players going over to join in the celebrations.

After looking all but relegated after defeat to Aston Villa two weeks ago, the strong travelling support were starting to believe they could stay in the Premier League.

Al Habsi had to make a couple of routine stops to deny Wheater and George Boateng as Boro searched for an equaliser, but they failed to cause any serious harm to the Bolton backline, led excellently by Cahill.

Boro had another penalty claim turned down when the ball looked to have hit Taylor on the arm but the referee again turned down the appeals.

Alves looked to be through on goal in stoppage time but was rightly flagged for offside and any chances of a comeback were all but over for the hosts.

Indeed that was the way it turned out to be and Bolton were left to celebrate getting out of the bottom three and in with a real chance of Premier League survival.

Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Young, Wheater, Pogatetz, Taylor (Rochemback 74), Aliadiere, Boateng, Arca, Downing, Alves, Tuncay (Johnson 64)
Subs Not Used: Steele, Shawky, Grounds

Bolton Wanderers: Al Habsi, Steinsson, A O'Brien, Cahill, Samuel, Nolan, Cohen (Guthrie 46), Campo, McCann, Taylor, Rasiak (Diouf 56)
Subs Not Used: Walker, Giannakopoulos, Fojut
Booked: Campo, Steinsson
Goals: McCann 61

Attendance: 25,037
Referee: Alan Wiley

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Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Reading 46 47
21 Millwall 46 44
22 Rotherham United 46 40
23 Bolton Wanderers 46 32
24 Ipswich Town 46 31
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