Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Sunderland

  • May 03, 2008 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton have all but preserved their Premier League status after a 2-0 victory over Sunderland.

El-Hadji Diouf's strike just before the break, followed by Daryl Murphy's own goal seven minutes from time gave Wanderers a huge three points which looks like keeping them up.

Bolton went into the game on the back of good news that Fulham had beaten Birmingham and Reading had lost 1-0 at home to Tottenham.

The pre-match atmosphere inside the ground was superb, with both sets of supporters making their voices heard, but it didn't appear to boost either side inside a drab first half.

It was the hosts who had the better of the opening exchanges and they had strong appeals for a penalty turned down as Jonny Evans looked to have handled inside the area.

Kevin Davies, back in the side after suspension, went close to breaking the deadlock just before the half hour, but he could only head over Craig Gordon's crossbar.

But Sunderland made their intentions known and should have taken the lead soon after but Kenwyne Jones shot straight at Ali Al Habsi after shrugging off the challenge of Gretar Steinsson.

Then came a moment of magic as Wanderers took a deserved lead just three minutes before the interval.

Kevin Nolan delivered a cross from the right which picked out Diouf at the far post, the Senegalese international brought the ball down expertly before curling the ball beyond Gordon and into the top corner.

In what was widely expected to be his final home game for the Trotters, Diouf showed his delight after such an important goal gave his side a half-time lead.

Diouf could have added a second after the restart, but after a good cross from Taylor, his goalbound diving header was deflected for a corner by Danny Collins.

Seeing enough of his side failing to perform, Sunderland boss Roy Keane made a triple substitution on the hour.

And the changes almost made an impact ten minutes later, Roy O'Donovan, one of the substitutes, headed Andy Reid's cross into the path of Jones who somehow failed to connect with the ball with the goal at his mercy.

A one goal lead never looked enough and Bolton killed off their opponents seven minutes from time to put the game beyond doubt.

Taylor's corner took a flick off Murphy's head and took the ball over the line. Despite Reid's best attempts to prevent the ball going over the line, a goal was correctly given by the linesman.

The victory moves Wanderers three points clear of the drop with one game remaining. Relegation is still possible but it would take an extraordinary set of results next Sunday for that to happen.

Despite travelling to Chelsea on the final day, Bolton hold a five goal advantage over Fulham and an eleven goal advantage over Reading.

For Wanderers to go down, they must lose at Chelsea and both Fulham and Reading would need high scoring victories to turn over the goal difference advantage the Whites currently hold.

Bolton Wanderers: Al Habsi, Steinsson, A O'Brien, Cahill, Samuel, McCann, Nolan, Guthrie, Diouf, Davies, Taylor
Subs Not Used: Walker, Meite, Giannakopoulos, Cohen, Rasiak
Booked: McCann
Goals: Diouf 42, Murphy 83(og)

Sunderland: Gordon, Nosworthy (Murphy 61), Higginbotham, Evans, Collins, Miller (Leadbitter 61), Whitehead, Reid, Richardson, Chopra (O'Donovan 62), Jones
Subs Not Used: Fulop, Yorke

Attendance: 25,053
Referee: Martin Atkinson

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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