Bolton Wanderers 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

  • December 26, 2010 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton began their Christmas campaign with a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Reebok Stadium.

Goals in either half from Matt Taylor and Johan Elmander saw off the Baggies, moving Wanderers up to fifth place in the Premier League in the process.

On a bitterly cold afternoon in Lancashire, neither side made any serious threat in the early exchanges and it wasn't until the 16th minute that the first chance came as Graham Dorrans shot straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Elmander was put clean through on goal just two minutes later but, with only Scott Carson left to beat, he fluffed his lines by firing over the crossbar and into the travelling supporters behind the goal.

Somen Tchoyi came close for the Baggies on 21 minutes, before Peter Odemwingie somehow failed to hit the target from eight yards after being played in by James Morrison.

Stuart Holden dragged a shot wide of goal in a rare Wanderers attack on in the 32nd minute, moments before Roberto Di Matteo's side should have taken the lead.

Sloppy defensive work from Bolton allowed Odemwingie a clean run on goal, but with only Jaaskelainen left to beat, he opted to pass the ball to Dorrans, only for Gary Cahill to intercept and clear the danger.

The Baggies were left to rue the wasted opportunity five minutes before the break as Bolton took the lead, arguably against the run of play.

After being played in by Taylor, Lee Chung-Yong rounded Carson before pulling the ball back for Taylor to fire low past the goalkeeper and net his first goal of the season.

West Brom looked for an immediate equaliser and Jaaskelainen had to be alert just a minute later, tipping a Gonzalo Jara effort over his crossbar as Wanderers took their lead into the interval.

Di Matteo's side came racing out of the blocks in the second half and had numerous opportunities to haul themselves level.

First, Tchoyi shot straight at Jaaskelainen, before the same player combined with Chris Brunt, with the latter seeing a header from close range come back off the post before being cleared to safety.

Jaaskelainen was the hero just before the hour. After being played in by Odemwingie, Morrison was one-on-one with the Finn, but his first touch was too heavy and the Bolton goalkeeper dived at the feet of the West Brom midfielder to keep the lead intact.

Midway through the second half, Odemwingie found himself clean through once more. However, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he once again failed to hit the target.

At the other end, Elmander could have sealed the points on 69 minutes when Paul Scharner missed a clearance inside his own six-yard box. The striker failed to make contact with his first opportunity, before sending an overhead-kick onto the roof of the net from the follow up.

Baggies substitute Ishmael Miller was denied soon after his arrival on the field, with Cahill somehow getting his head in the way of a goalbound shot.

A corner up the other end saw Cahill involved once more. First, he saw a shot blocked by Gabriel Tamas, before winning a free-kick just outside the area following a challenge from Dorrans.

Holden took the resulting set-piece, forcing Carson into conceding a corner after diving low to his right, denying the USA international a third goal of the campaign.

West Brom's miserable afternoon was complete in the latter stages, as Elmander added a second with four minutes remaining to ensure the points went to the hosts.

After breaking away down the right flank, his attempted pass to Ivan Klasnic was blocked and the Sweden international reacted smartly to slot a shot beyond Carson at his near post, his ninth goal of the season.

Elmander celebrated by grabbing a t-shirt from the dugout, with a message reading 'Get Well Soon Avi Cohen'. Avi, father of Bolton midfielder Tamir, is currently in a critical state in an Israeli hospital following a motorcycle incident last week.

Kevin Davies came close to adding a third in the closing stages. After being played through, he beat Carson to the ball and sent a shot goalwards, only for it to be cleared off the line by Scharner.

Five minutes of injury time went by without incident and referee Howard Webb called time at the Reebok, with the three points moving Wanderers up to fifth place in the Premier League ahead of Wednesday night's trip to Chelsea.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Ricketts 64), Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Chung-Yong (Klasnic 80), Muamba (M Davies 76), Holden, Taylor, Elmander, K Davies
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Petrov, Rodrigo, Blake
Booked: Cahill
Goals: Taylor 40, Elmander 86

West Bromwich Albion: Carson, Jara, Tamas, Scharner, Cech, Mulumbu (Cox 85), Tchoyi, Dorrans, Brunt, Morrison (Miller 70), Odemwingie
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Shorey, Ibanez, Reid, Barnes
Booked: Brunt

Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 23,413

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Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
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