Bolton Wanderers 4-1 Middlesbrough

  • April 04, 2009 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/03039

Bolton went eight points clear of the drop zone after beating a lackluster Middlesbrough 4-1 at the Reebok Stadium.

Gary O'Neil had equalised for Boro after Kevin Davies had given Wanderers an early lead, but Gary Cahill restored the lead just before the break.

Second half goals from Matt Taylor and Ricardo Gardner gave Gary Megson's side the points, virtually guaranteeing their place in the Premier League next season.

Wanderers began the game in strong fashion and took the lead inside eight minutes. Gardner broke away from Matthew Bates down the left flank before putting in a teasing cross which Davies stabbed home at Brad Jones' near post.

With 16 minutes on the clock, Bolton had a chance to double their lead, but Jones made a smart stop, tipping Taylor's curling free-kick over for a corner.

Jones had to be alert once again midway through the opening 45 minutes, as he just beat Gardner to the ball inside the area. Despite some appeals from the home fans, there was never any chance of referee Alan Wiley awarding a penalty.

David Wheater forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into his first save of the afternoon just a couple of minutes later as the Finn tipped his looping strike over the bar following a deflection off Danny Shittu.

Fabrice Muamba missed a great opportunity to give Bolton a 2-0 lead and he was almost made to rue that miss as Afonso Alves' free-kick just moments later came back off Jaaskelainen's left hand post.

Boro, however, did equalise seven minutes before the break as O'Neil got onto the end of Tuncay Sanli's pass before slotting past Jaaskelainen.

The visitors weren't level for long though as just a minute before the break, Wanderers restored their lead as Johan Elmander laid the ball on a plate for Cahill who cooly slotted past Jones.

Gareth Southgate's side came out fighting at the start of the second half, but Tuncay missed two glorious opportunities in quick succession as Boro became increasingly frustrated.

After a big period without any major incident, Alves had a chance to pull Middlesbrough level but Jaaskelainen reacted quickest after Gretar Steinsson's short back-pass.

Taylor went close to adding a third inside the final fifteen minutes, capitalising on an error from Jones, but his looping effort from fully 40-yards was just tipped behind for a corner.

But the England hopeful didn't have to wait long to get himself on the scoresheet as his inswinging free-kick from the right flank evaded everybody inside the area and creeped into the far corner of the goal to seal the points for Wanderers.

Gardner put the icing on the cake for Bolton with six minutes remaining, getting on the end of a superb ball from Taylor before slotting past Jones with the outside of his left foot.

The result moves Bolton up to 12th in the table, eight points clear of the drop ahead of next weekend's trip to Chelsea.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Shittu, Samuel, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Gardner, Elmander (Basham 83), K Davies
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Puygrenier, Cohen, A O'Brien
Booked: Muamba, Shittu
Goals: K Davies 8, Cahill 44, Taylor 78, Gardner 84

Middlesbrough: Jones, Hoyte, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz (Taylor 36), Downing, O'Neil, Tuncay, Bates, Aliadiere (Emnes 74), Alves
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Shawky, King, McMahon, Walker
Booked: O'Neil
Goals: O'Neil 38

Attendance: 20,819
Referee: Alan Wiley

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Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Millwall 41 42
21 Wigan Athletic 42 42
22 Rotherham United 42 40
23 Bolton Wanderers 42 32
24 Ipswich Town 42 28
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