Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Aston Villa

  • March 05, 2011 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton twice came from behind to secure a superb 3-2 victory over Aston Villa at the Reebok Stadium.

Gary Cahill struck in each half to cancel out goals from Darren Bent and Marc Albrighton, before Ivan Klasnic netted the winner with just four minutes remaining.

Jussi Jaaskelainen saved an Ashley Young penalty with Villa leading 2-1 as Wanderers moved up to sixth place in the Premier League table.

After Wanderers had intially started well, it was the visitors who had the first clear cut opportunity of the afternoon, only for Bent to be left wondering how he didn't give his side the lead.

Receiving a through ball from Ashley Young, Bent found himself one-on-one with Jaaskelainen. The England international attempted to dummy the Wanderers goalkeeper, but only succeeded in mis-kicking the ball, allowing the Finn to recover and claim the ball.

After Brad Freidel fumbled a Martin Petrov corner on 15 minutes, Kevin Davies headed the ball goalwards, only to see Luke Young head the ball off the line before it was cleared to safety.

That block proved vital as Gerard Houllier's side took the lead just 60 seconds later as Kyle Walker skipped past Paul Robinson and Stuart Holden before crossing for Bent to prod home from inside the six yard box.

Bent almost had a second just five minutes later as he got on the end of a cross from Albrighton, only for his header to cannon back off the post with Jaaskelainen beaten.

Villa were well on top at this stage and they came close again moments later, only for Albrighton's low cross to just evade the attentions of Bent and Ashley Young.

Bolton immediately hit back at the other end, but Daniel Sturridge could only succeed in heading wide from close range after rising highest to get on the end of a cross from Kevin Davies.

With ten minutes of the first half remaining, Wanderers were given two free-kicks in quick succession. Unfortunately, neither Petrov nor Sturridge could beat the Villa wall and the chances were gone.

Then, in first half stoppage time, the hosts got an equaliser, arguably against the run of play, meaning the two sides went in level at the interval.

After Kevin Davies' flick to Johan Elmander was scrambled behind by the Villa defence, Petrov's corner picked out an unmarked Cahill who rose to head across Freidel and into the far corner of the goal.

Bent was sent clean through on goal once again after the restart, but, with only Jaaskelainen left to beat, he hit his shot straight at the Wanderers goalkeeper.

Villa should have retaken the lead on 53 minutes, as Downing missed an absolute sitter in front of the travelling supporters.

Albrighton had got away from Robinson down the right flank before crossing across the box for Downing, who somehow volleyed his strike well wide of the target from just six yards.

Despite that miss, Villa seemed intent to add another. First, Bent saw a shot blocked on the line by David Wheater, before Jaaskelainen parried away a fierce strike from Ashley Young after he had been teed up by Walker.

Villa's pressure did, eventually, pay off though as they retook the lead on 64 minutes. After receiving the ball from Fabien Delph, Downing raced down the right flank before crossing for Albrighton to beat Jaaskelainen with a volley from close range.

Then, just three minutes later, they were given the opportunity to win the game when Ashley Young was hauled down inside the box by Wheater. Bolton were furious about the decision, claiming the ball had gone out of play in the build up.

The referee's decision stood though and Young stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, only to see his poor effort saved by Jaaskelainen in what was to be the turning point of the game, with the hosts pulling level five minutes later.

After netting against his former club earlier in the game, Cahill was on target again. After seeing a header from a Holden corner parried by Freidel, the England defender reacted quickest to volley home the rebound and send the Reebok crowd wild.

Villa survived a huge penalty shout a minute later when Kevin Davies' cross appeared to hit the hand of Nathan Baker, but Bolton's pressure paid off on 86 minutes when they took the lead for the first time in the game.

After failing to clear a corner, Mark Davies picked out Sturridge, who crossed into the Villa box and after failing to deal with the threat of Kevin Davies, Klasnic reacted smartly to turn and shoot into the bottom corner of Freidel's goal.

Much to the delight of the home supporters, Bolton began to play keep ball in the closing stages as referee Kevin Friend brought an end to an entertaining afternoon in the North West.

The result is Bolton's first victory over the Villans since December 2006 and pushes them above Liverpool and into 6th place in the Premier League, ahead of next weekend's FA Cup quarter final trip to Birmingham City, where a trip to Wembley will be on the line.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Wheater, Cahill, Robinson, Elmander (Klasnic 67), Holden, Muamba (M Davies 60), Petrov (Chung-Yong 60), K Davies, Sturridge
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Taylor, Rodrigo, Alonso
Booked: Elmander, Holden, Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Wheater
Goals: Cahill 45,75, Klasnic 86

Aston Villa: Freidel, Walker, Clark, Baker, L Young, Reo-Coker, Delph (Petrov 77), Albrighton (Agbonlahor 83), A Young, Downing, Bent
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Pires, Bradley, Heskey, Herd
Booked: Clark, Walker
Goals: Bent 15, Albrighton 64

Referee: Kevin Friend
Attendance: 22,533

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
View Full Standings >>


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