Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Portsmouth

  • December 20, 2008 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat Portsmouth 2-1 on a wet afternoon at the Reebok Stadium.

Wanderers were quick out the blocks and stunned everybody as goals from Matt Taylor and Ricardo Gardner had them 2-0 up inside 3 minutes.

Peter Crouch pulled one back midway through the first period, but it turned out to be mere consolation as Gary Megson's side took all three points.

Wanderers kicked off and immediately attacked the Portsmouth defence, and following good work from Andy O'Brien and Gardner, Kevin Davies flicked the ball on to Taylor who controlled brilliantly before firing past David James to score against his old club.

Record signing Johan Elmander went close a minute later, before the home fans were sent into dreamland.

With a goal already to his name, Taylor turned provider as he picked up a ball from Jlloyd Samuel before playing in the Jamaican international who struck the ball under the body of James for his second of the season.

He almost added a third with just 10 minutes on the clock, but he fired a volley narrowly wide of goal after being picked out by Gretar Steinsson's cross.

Portsmouth had taken their time to get going, but were back in the game with 20 minutes gone, as Crouch headed past Jussi Jaaskelainen after a fantastic cross from Niko Kranjcar.

Elmander shot wide of goal with half an hour on the clock, and Kranjcar went close at the other end, forcing Jaaskelainen into a smart low stop after his initial shot was blocked.

Gardner had a great chance to increase Bolton's lead five minutes before the break, but after being played clean through, his shot was blocked by James and Taylor's goalbound rebound was blocked on the line.

The visitors went straight up the other end and could have pulled level, but Jaaskelainen was brave to dive at the feet of Jermain Defoe after he had got on the blindside of Gary Cahill.

Steinsson almost added a third on the stroke of half-time, but James pushed his header on to the post and the ball was cleared.

The game calmed down after the break, with Defoe having the first half-chance ten minutes after the restart.

Hermann Hreidarsson sent a header just wide of goal before Bolton almost profitted from a James blunder.

The England goalkeeper made a hash of Sol Campbell's back pass and Elmander looked set to score, only to be denied by a recovering James diving at his feet.

Kranjcar cleared a Kevin Davies header off the line just after the hour, before Kevin Nolan saw a shot go narrowly wide.

Taylor saw a shot defelected behind by Campbell soon after, but the game faded out and Bolton picked up their first win in three to move back in to the top half of the Premier League table.

Wanderers travel to Anfield on Boxing Day when they will face Rafael Benitez's title chasing Liverpool side.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, A O'Brien, Samuel, Davies, Nolan, McCann, Taylor, Gardner (Muamba 83), Elmander
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Smolarek, Riga, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi
Booked: Steinsson
Goals: Taylor 1, Gardner 3

Portsmouth: James, Pamarot, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Diop (Nugent 75), Davis, Hughes (Diarra 63), Kranjcar, Defoe, Crouch
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Little, Kanu, Traore, Wilson
Booked: Defoe
Goals: Crouch 20

Attendance: 19,884
Referee: Martin Atkinson

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Portsmouth 19 42
2 Bolton Wanderers 18 39
3 Oxford United 18 36
4 Stevenage 20 36
5 Peterborough United 19 35
View Full Standings >>


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