Manchester United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • October 17, 2009 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton produced a brave display but ultimately fell short, losing 2-1 at Manchester United.

The hosts took the lead inside five minutes as Zat Knight deflected a Michael Owen header past his own goalkeeper, before Antonio Valencia doubled their lead before the break as United hit Bolton on the counter.

Matt Taylor pulled one back with a header 15 minutes from time, but Bolton's late pressure wasn't enough as United held on for the win.

United took control of the game in the opening exchanges and their pressure paid off when Michael Owen's faint header hit Knight, who diverted the ball into this own net despite Jlloyd Samuel's attempt to clear.

Jonny Evans came close to doubling the lead a few minutes later, but brought a fine stop out of Jussi Jaaskelainen. Dimitar Berbatov and Valencia had efforts later on, but both failed to test the Bolton goalkeeper.

In a bright spell for the visitors, Taylor failed with two efforts before Kevin Davies got on the end of a Sam Ricketts cross, only to see his header fly just wide of goal.

Then, just after the half hour, United were two up. Owen laid the ball off the Valencia, who, after playing a one-two with Gary Neville, fired past Jaaskelainen into the bottom corner for his first goal in United colours.

After the interval, Bolton threatened first, but Knight's header was straight at Edwin van der Sar.

Berbatov then went close at the other end, seeing a spectaculor scissors kick beaten away by Jaaskelainen.

Owen had a great chance to seal the points, but under pressure from Knight, who had initially made a superb tackle on the United forward, directed his shot well wide of goal.

Then, Wanderers suddenly sparked into life and thought they had pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go.

Substitute Ivan Klasnic had put the ball into an empty net, but referee Mark Clattenburg disallowed the goal, citing a foul on van der Sar by Ricardo Gardner.

Bolton were encouraged by this and set about putting things right. They didn't have to wait too long as they were back in the game just four minutes later.

Gary Cahill made a superb intervention in the Wanderers defence before picking out Mark Davies. The midfielder then picked out his namesake Kevin, who, after one failed attempted cross, picked out Taylor at the back post to head past van der Sar.

Bolton now had nothing to lose and bombarded the home goal. First, Knight saw a strike from distance deflect just wide, before Klasnic saw a similar strike fly just the wrong side of the post.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added and provided Bolton with two excellent opportunities to equalise, but not before poor defending almost cost them the game.

A mix-up at the back allowed Valencia a shot on goal, but Jaaskelainen blocked, leading to a frantic final two minutes.

Knight towered above all else in the United defence, but his header was kept out by van der Sar. Then, in the final minute, a long throw from Ricketts was flicked on by Kevin Davies to Cahill who headed straight at van der Sar, much to the dispair of the travelling 1,500 Wanderers fans.

After completely dominating the final 20 minutes at Old Trafford, Gary Megson's side ultimately left with nothing but pride after a fine performance at the home of the English champions.

Manchester United: van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra (O'Shea 83), Valencia, Carrick, Anderson (Scholes 86), Giggs, Owen (Welbeck 83), Berbatov
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Brown, Nani, Macheda
Goals: Knight 5(og), Valencia 33

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Knight, Cahill, Samuel, Chung-Yong (Klasnic 53), Cohen (M Davies 63), Muamba (Basham 77), Gardner, Taylor, K Davies
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Robinson, Steinsson, McCann
Booked: K Davies
Goals: Taylor 75

Attendance: 75,103
Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
6 Cambridge United 3 6
7 Derby County 3 6
8 Bolton Wanderers 3 5
9 Portsmouth 3 5
10 Accrington Stanley 3 5
View Full Standings >>


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