Aston Villa 4-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 13, 2008 | By Chris Mann
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Aston Villa moved in to the Premier League's top four after coming from behind to beat Bolton 4-2 at Villa Park.

Johan Elmander gave Bolton an early lead, but the hosts found themselves ahead at the break thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor and a Kevin Davies own goal.

Agbonlahor scored his second and Villa's third midway through the second half, before Ashley Young added a fourth. Davies pulled one back four minutes from time, but it proved to be just a consolation.

After a relatively quiet start from both sides, Wanderers took the lead, as Davies got to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Elmander who opened the scoring with a cheeky back heel past Brad Friedel.

And just a couple of minutes later, the visitors could have doubled their lead, but Gretar Steinsson's header crashed off the crossbar after Gavin McCann's corner.

Then, at the other end, Curtis Davies nodded just wide following a Gareth Barry free-kick, but Martin O'Neill's side were level from their next attack.

Martin Laursen's long ball caught out the Bolton defence, and Agbonlahor beat off challenge from Andy O'Brien before volleying past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Agbonlahor was looking increasingly likely to add to his tally, but he was thwarted in his attempts by a smart low save from Jaaskelainen.

Then, at the other end, Bolton had a great chance to retake the lead, but Matt Taylor fired high over the bar from 12 yards.

Bolton were made to pay for that miss just five minutes before the break, as Davies put through his own goal, giving Villa the lead.

Barry's free-kick was put into the danger area, and under pressure from Laursen, Davies headed past Jaaskelainen.

Moments later, Villa had strong claims for two penalties rejected by referee Lee Probert. First, Steinsson appeared to foul Young inside the area, then former Villan Gary Cahill handled inside the six yard box, but both appeals were turned away.

Things calmed down after the break, and Davies had a great chance to extend the home side's lead, but he headed over from Young's corner.

But, after failing to put the game out of sight, Villa added a third as Agbonlahor scored his second.

Despite the attention of two Bolton defenders, Young managed to get a cross in and Agbonlahor diverted a close range header past Jaaskelainen to put the game beyond doubt.

A rout seemed to be on the cards 12 minutes from time, as Agbonlahor fed in Young, who fired through the legs of Cahill and into the corner of Jaaskelainen's goal to give the hosts a 4-1 lead.

Davies pulled one back late on after Steinsson had delivered a good cross into the Villa penalty area, but the goal proved to be just a consolation and Villa moved in to the top four.

The defeat leaves Bolton in 11th, with Portsmouth next up at the Reebok Stadium next weekend.

Aston Villa: Freidel, Cuellar, Laursen, Davies, L Young, Sidwell, Petrov, Barry, Milner (Reo-Coker 68), Agbonlahor (Shorey 87), A Young (Harewood 81)
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Delfouneso, Knight, Gardner
Goals: Agbonlahor 25,67, Davies 40(og), A Young 78

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, A O'Brien, Samuel, Davies, McCann, Nolan, Muamba (Gardner 53), Taylor, Elmander (Smolarek 74)
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Riga, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi
Booked: A O'Brien
Goals: Elmander 17, Davies 86

Attendance: 35,134
Referee: Lee Probert

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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